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British retail sales slip amid household income squeeze

Pedestrian walk past a shop advertising its Autumn sale in Kensington High street in London, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. Inflation is set to rise above 3 percent in the next month or two, the Bank of England warned Tuesday, with expectations that interest rates might soon rise for the first time in a decade. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

LONDON (AP) -- Official figures show that retail sales in Britain fell by a bigger than anticipated 0.8 percent in September, a drop that analysts say has its roots in the squeeze on household incomes by a spike in inflation.

Despite the monthly fall, the Office for National Statistics said retail sales were 0.6 percent higher in the three months to September from the previous three-month period. That means that retail sales will have had a positive impact overall on third quarter economic growth figures, which are due for release next week.

As a result, most economists think the Bank of England will raise its key interest rate at its next policy meeting on Nov. 2 for the first time in a decade from the current record low of 0.25 percent.