The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) finished the week on a low on Friday, as July's retail sales data from the UK missed expectations.
Poor weather meant lower footfall particularly in supermarkets, meaning sluggish sales for both clothing and food, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Retail sales fell by 1.2% in July, following a 0.6% rise in June.
Retailers indicated that the increased cost of living and food prices continued to affect sales volumes.
"The wet weather did mean a good month for online retailing, as discounting plus consumers shopping from the comfort of their homes boosted sales," commented ONS deputy director for surveys and economic indicators Heather Bovill.
Shoppers switching to online shopping because of poor weather and increased promotions led to 27.4% of retail sales taking place online in July, up from 26.0% in June 2023; this is the highest proportion since February 2022.
"Retailers will be starting to look ahead to the peak shopping season as Black Friday sales and Christmas loom. Supply chains are tight and currency volatility remains so businesses will need to ensure they are well-prepared to capitalise on the hoped-for rebound in shopper activity," said Phil Monkhouse, head of sales at global financial services firm Ebury.
The pound (GBPUSD=X) was hovering above the $1.27 mark.
The FTSE was around 1.2% lower by the afternoon before recovering to around 0.7% lower, compounding losses from the day before. The DAX (^GDAXI) in Germany was also down 7% and the CAC (^FCHI) in Paris lost 0.5%.
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