BUSINESS LIVE: Retail sales fall 0.3%; Nationwide member benefits hit record; Marston’s appoints new CEO

Among the companies with reports and trading updates today are Nationwide, Marston’s, Octopus Energy and Centrica. 

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Retail sales fell 0.3% in October

Jacqui Baker, head of retail at RSM UK, comments on the latest ONS monthly retail sales figures:

Retailers had high hopes for the start of this year’s Golden Quarter, but sadly wet weather and the cost of living dampened sales this month, as cash strapped consumers held out from splurging on clothing and bigger ticket items to take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals in November.

The sharp drop in consumer confidence in October shows that the cost of living pressure remains as high mortgages and rents, interest rates and inflation continue to squeeze household budgets. Although there are subtle signs of these pressures easing, consumers remain cautious and are reluctant to spend unless necessary.

Despite a subdued start to the Christmas trading period there are reasons to be hopeful. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals; energy prices falling; and thousands of households benefiting from the Autumn cost of living payment, consumers should feel more confident to spend in the run up to Christmas.