20/10/2011 07:23 BST | Updated 20/12/2011 05:12 GMT

Back-To-School Rush Boosts Retail Sales

A rush of back-to-school and university purchases saw retail sales unexpectedly bounce back last month, official figures show.

Retail volumes in September grew 0.6 per cent month-on-month, following a downwardly revised 0.4 per cent drop in August, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Household goods stores grew 3.2 per cent month-on-month in September, the strongest growth in 19 months, as schoolchildren and students bought computers and laptops before starting the new academic year.

Economists, who on average forecast flat sales volumes, had expected the September heatwave to hit the month's performance, but the ONS said this only had a minor impact on clothing, which dropped 0.7 per cent.