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Retail sales rise despite double dip recession

Shoppers make their way past a large sale sign in a shop window on Oxford Street. Photo: Reuters

There is a contradictory picture here and in a sense it's really important to remember that any one set of figures is not enough on which to base the idea that suddenly everything is going to be milk and honey and wonderful again.

Just in terms of the High Street, yes it was better than expected but retail only makes up 8% of the economy.

It can't drag everything else up on its own and in terms of yesterday's job numbers, although they were definitely good we must remember that unemployment often lags behind what's happening in the rest of the economy.

People often really try to create new jobs when they're not quite sure what's going to happen next. People try to hang onto their staff for as long as they can.

All that said there is a growing sense of disquiet about the GDP numbers that suggested the economy was shrinking by 0.7% and we may see that at the end of next week they are revised up a bit.

It's good to have some reasons to be cheerful for a change but I think it would be unwise to say.

This is definitely the economy turning the corner and we can forget about all those nasty threats hanging over us from the eurozone.

This is still a really, really uncertain time. We should be careful about what one set of statistics or another really tells us.

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