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London sales soar 7.5% on weak comps

Retail sales in London rose 7.5% on a like-for-like basis during September compared with the same month a year ago, when sales dropped 0.2% as the banking crisis took hold.

The figure represents the strongest London sales growth since August 2008, according to the BRC-KPMG London Sales Monitor. However retailers have been warned to view the improvement with caution because of weak comparables.

BRC director-general Stephen Robertson said: “This August’s figure was compared with a strong performance a year ago. September’s figure is compared with a very weak performance last year.”

Clothing and footwear sales “picked up” over the month, helped by promotions and discounts and new season ranges.

Upmarket designer fashion and accessories benefitted from strong tourist spend, as a result of the earlier ending of Ramadan this year and sterling’s weakness against the euro which attracted European visitors.

Retail footfall was “slightly down” on a year ago and drier and milder weather this year helped boost trade.

Consumer confidence in the capital picked up in September and London outperformed the rest of the UK which notched up a like-for-like sales rise of 2.8% in September.

Robertson added: “These results offer retailers a glimpse of optimism in the all important run-up to Christmas. But consumer confidence is volatile and could easily slip back.”

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