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SHOPS SALES FALL IN AUTUMN.

Byline: Edited by GRAHAM HISCOTT

Cash-strapped Britons took a breather from shopping last month and caused a surprise fall in high street sales.

October's retail sales were 0.7% down on September, when analysts were expecting flat figures, sparking fears that a slowdown could hit economic growth this quarter.

Economist Jeremy Cook, of currency broker World First, said: "The major factor is clearly the impact of falling real wages."

Non-food sales fell 1.3%, with textile, clothing and footwear sales down 2.8%. It follows remarks from fashion retailers, including Topshop owner Arcadia, that the warm start to autumn had hit sales of winter clothing. Supermarket sales fell for the third month, down 0.1%. But department store sales were up 1.3% as an early Eid attracted more Middle Eastern shoppers.

Analyst Howard Archer, of IHS Global Insight, said the drop "indicates consumers are taking at least a temporary breather after spending at a robust rate during the third quarter".
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Title Annotation:Business; Opinion, Columns
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 15, 2013
Words:161
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