Retail demand subdued

Retail Think Tank: KPMG/Ipsos

  • Retail demand continued to be subdued in quarter three with a soft July and August. Demand is expected to improve slightly in quarter four.
  • Margins in quarter three also suffered. Heavy discounting continued during the summer months in fashion, and food prices too were under pressure. Quarter four looks little different.
  • Costs remained largely neutral to health in quarter three. Legislation to extend Sunday opening hours over the course of the Olympic and Paralympic Games added some extra pressure. Rising fuel and commodity prices are expected to exert a more negative influence on retail health in quarter four.
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UK Expenditure Index

UK Expenditure Index, Oct 2012: Visa

  • UK household spending falls following two consecutive months of growth. Monthly decline of -2.9% (September: +3.1%).
  • Annual fall in consumer spending recorded in October. Decline of -1.8% registered (September:+0.1%).
  • Underlying growth of spending maintained: October 3m/3m rate 2.3% (September: 1.8%).
  • Return to growth of internet spending, but high street shows fall compared to a year ago.

Shop price index: inflation edges up

Shop price index: BRC

  • Overall shop price inflation accelerated to 1.5% in October from 1.0% in September.
  • Food inflation increased to 4.0% in October from 3.1% in September.
  • Non-food prices were broadly flat in October after falling 0.2% in September.

National Well-being – The Natural Environment

National Well-being – The Natural Environment: ONS

Natural Resources

  • In 2010, the area covered by the UK woodlands increased by two-and-a-half times the area covered in 1924,
  • The total extent of protected areas in the UK has more than doubled during the last decade, from 3.5 million hectares in 2000 to just over 7.5 million hectares in 2011,
  • The upper range of the UK’s total oil reserves halved from 5 billion tonnes in 1990 to 2.5 billion tonnes in 2010,
  • The population of the wild birds in the UK has remained relatively stable between 1970 and 2010.

Uses of Resources

  • Imports accounted for 80 per cent of the total timber supply in the UK,
  • In 2010, 3.2 per cent of the total energy consumption was from renewable sources, although the amount has increased over 5 times since 1990,
  • The UK is third from the bottom out of all EU 27 countries in terms of renewable energy consumption as a percentage of gross final energy consumption.

Pressure on the Natural Environment

  • Between 1990 and 2010 the emissions from PM10 fell by 54 per cent from 0.31 million tonnes to 0.14 million tonnes,
  • In the UK, during the last two decades, greenhouse gas emissions per head have fallen by 3.9 tonnes of CO2 equivalent,
  • Based on the emissions estimated up to and including 2010, UK is on course to meet its Kyoto Protocol target for greenhouse gas emissions.

European retail trade

European retail trade, Sept 2012: Eurostat

  • In September 2012 compared with August 2012, the volume of retail trade fell by 0.2% in the euro area (EA17) and rose by 0.1% in the EU27.
  • In August retail trade increased by 0.2% in the euro area and remained stable in the EU27.
  • In September 2012, compared with September 2011, the retail sales index fell by 0.8% in the euro area and increased by 0.3% in the EU27.

Retail sales values down

Retail Sales Monitor, Oct 2012: BRC

  • UK retail sales values were down 0.1% on a like-for-like basis from October 2011, when they were down 0.6% on the preceding year.
  • On a total basis, sales were up 1.1%, against a 1.5% rise in October 2011.
  • Excluding Easter, this was the lowest growth in total sales since November 2011.

So how well is the Work Programme doing?

Labour Market Outlook: CIPD

  • Around half (51%) of the 1,004 employers that responded to the survey are aware of the Government’s Work Programme, with awareness highest in the wholesale and retail trade sector (57%).
  • However, while awareness of the Work Programme is mixed, only 7% of employers reported that they had taken part more than a year after its introduction. Employers in the north of England are three times more likely to have participated
  • The proportion of employers (11%) participating in the Work Programme look set to increase in the next three years
  • The majority (79%) of employers that have used the Work Programme say recruits met or exceeded their expectations and more than half (58%) said candidates were better prepared for interviews and demonstrated better presentation skills as a result of the programme
  • Amongst those employers that have recruited via the Work Programme, only half plan to hold on to the new hires for longer than six months and 48% felt that participants lack certain job-specific or technical skills