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Retail sales rise in September

Like-for-like retail sales growth across clothing and footwear grew by 4% in the three months to September compared with the same period last year, according to the Office of National Statistics.

Total like-for-like retail sales across non-food were up 2.3% during the same period, with non-specialist stores, including department stores, up by 7.4% and non-store retailing and repair, which includes internet and mail order sales, up 13.7%.

Barclays national director for retail and wholesale sectors Paul Clarke said retailers should be encouraged by the figures, but warned that the high street is still having to entice customers through heavy discounting.

He said: "These figures show strong consumer resilience despite recent interest rate rises. This backs up Barclays' recent survey, which found 90% of retailers are bullish about prospects for Christmas. [Heavy discounting] is set to continue because increasingly canny consumers will be on the lookout for pre-Christmas bargains."

He added that the challenge for retailers will be to avoid cutting prices even further and said the internet will be an important platform at Christmas.

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