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-UK Sep total sales -0.8% m/m, +3.2% y/y
-UK Q3 sales +1.2% q/q; to add 0.06pp to GDP
-UK Sep non-fuel sales -0.8% m/m, +3.2% y/y
-UK Sep retail prices +1.8% y/y, joint-lowest since Dec 2016
By Laurie Laird and Jamie Satchithanantham
     LONDON (MNI) - Retail sales volumes slumped in September, dampened 
by a sharp fall in supermarket sales, but a strong performance in late 
summer leaves the sector poised to contribute positively to gross 
domestic product in the third quarter. 
     Sales volumes fell by 0.8% between August and September, falling 
well short of the median MNI median forecast of a 0.4% decline. On an 
annual basis, retail sales increased by 3.0%, compared to the MNI median 
gain of 3.5%. 
     July sales were revised to show a 0.4% monthly increase and a 3.4% 
annual gain, slightly higher than the originally-reported 0.3% monthly 
increase and 3.3% yearly improvement. 
     That lifted retail sales by 1.2% in the third quarter, which could 
add 0.06 percentage points to GDP, according to a National Statistics 
official. The retail sector accounts for 5.4% of total output. 
     Transactions at predominantly food retailers, which comprise 39% of 
total sales, slumped by 1.5% last month, the biggest fall since October 
of 2015, with weak supermarket sales accounting for much of the decline. 
     The implied price deflator rose by 1.8% in the year to September, 
the twenty-third straight increase, but below the peak of 3.3% recorded 
in September of 2017, and the smallest rise since January of 2017, when 
the deflator increased by an equal magnitude. 
     Fuel prices accounted for much of the acceleration in retail 
inflation, jumping by an annual rate of 10.3% in line with the recent 
rise in crude oil prices. Excluding fuel, the implied deflator rose by 
just 0.9%, also the smallest rise since January of 2017. 
     Excluding fuel, sales slipped by 0.8% last month, rising by 3.2% 
over September of 2017, below the MNI median forecast of a 0.4% fall on 
the month and a 3.8% annual gain. 
     August non-fuel sales were stronger than originally reported, 
rising by a revised 0.5% from July and by 3.6% over August of 2017. 
Excluding fuel, sales growth was originally reported as up 0.3% between 
July and August and a 3.5% gain over the ninth month of 2017. 
     Rampant growth in online sales shuddered to a halt in August, with 
internet sales -- measured by value -- declining by 2.5% m/m, the 
sharpest fall since August of 2015. On-line non-store retailing, which 
measures sales at internet-only shops, slumped by 4.5%, the biggest fall 
since August of 2015. 
     The September decline pushed internet sales down to 17.8% of total 
retail transactions from 18.0% in August and a record 18.2% in July. 
-London bureau: 44 (0) 203 865 3812; email: