I meant to post this chart yesterday, but my internet connection is playing up. Anyway, better late than never.
Retail sales data is an early warning indicator that gives us some idea about the likely path of GDP growth. Since the credit crunch began, consumption expenditure has been holding the growth rate up. So are consumers still buying for Britain?
Looking at the retail sales growth rate is a little misleading. It jumps around a lot and it is hard to detect any trends. The actual index is a lot more interesting. The first thing to note is that the May data is implausibly high. It suggests that consumers went out on a spending binge and pushed the level up dramatically. The June data seems to return to a trend that appears to have started back in January. If we take out the May data, retail sales has been flat for most of this year.