Home improvement and stockpiling boost September UK retail sales

Consumers increased spending on improving their homes and stockpiling goods in September in preparation for a tightening of restrictions, providing a boost for retailers.

Sales in the UK rose 5.6 per cent last month compared with the same period a year ago, according to data from the British Retail Consortium and the consultancy KPMG. That was above the six-month average decline of 1.1 per cent and the best annual growth rate of any month since December 2009, it found.

“September saw a big improvement in retail sales growth,” said Helen Dickinson, chief executive at the BRC, whose survey covers about 60 per cent of the industry.

“With office workers still at home for the foreseeable future, the sales of electronics, household goods and home office products have remained high,” she added. In contrast, more time spent at home and the cancellation of public events “have continued to hold back clothing and footwear”.

Line chart of Annual % change showing UK retail sales shift online

Food retail sales also rose in September as shoppers began stockpiling in reaction to possible further restrictions, said Susan Barratt, chief executive at the grocery consultancy IGD, commenting on the BRC data.

The growth in overall retail sales does not mean that high-street retailers are out of the woods, as the shift toward online sales prompted by the lockdown continued.

Online non-food sales last month rose 37 per cent compared with the same period a year ago. In contrast, in-store sales of non-food items were still very depressed.

Retail sales were the first of the main economic indicators to rise above last year’s level back in July as consumers spent money on food and drink rather than visiting restaurants and pubs.

The BRC findings chime with a 2 per cent annual growth in consumer spending in September, according to Barclaycard data also published on Tuesday.

The payments company’s data tracks nearly half of the country’s spending on credit and debt cards. It was the largest increase since February, before a national lockdown began.

Barclaycard said spending on home improvement was up 26 per cent compared with September last year, and furniture increased 28 per cent, as Britons spend more time at home.

“We saw households preparing to spend more time inside as winter draws closer, with home improvement increasing as a result,” said Raheel Ahmed, head of consumer products at Barclaycard.

Many Britons “are still cautious about the upcoming winter months, and the subsequent uncertainty it may bring has caused some to start stockpiling once more”.

Spending on supermarkets rose 15 per cent in that period while spending on takeaways and fast food rose 26 per cent.

Spending on restaurants, travel and hospitality remained depressed. Purchases in the travel sector declined 63 per cent in September compared with the same month last year, worse than the 61 per cent fall in August.

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White House Security Official Contracted Covid-19 in September

(Bloomberg) — A top White House security official, Crede Bailey, is gravely ill with Covid-19 and has been hospitalized since September, according to four people familiar with his condition.



The White House stands in Washington, D.C., U.S. on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. President Donald Trump stunned campaign advisers and allies in Congress by single-handedly torpedoing any chance of a fresh coronavirus stimulus, saddling himself with the blame for any more layoffs and market losses in the final weeks before the election.


© Bloomberg
The White House stands in Washington, D.C., U.S. on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020. President Donald Trump stunned campaign advisers and allies in Congress by single-handedly torpedoing any chance of a fresh coronavirus stimulus, saddling himself with the blame for any more layoffs and market losses in the final weeks before the election.

The White House has not publicly disclosed Bailey’s illness. He became sick before the Sept. 26 Rose Garden event President Donald Trump held to announce his Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett that has been connected to more than a dozen cases of the disease.

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A White House spokesman declined to comment on Bailey. He is in charge of the White House security office, which handles credentialing for access to the White House and works closely with the U.S. Secret Service on security measures throughout the compound.

A career federal employee who has seldom appeared in the news, Bailey was swept up in a controversy last year over security clearances granted to Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and son-in-law Jared Kushner. Bailey privately testified to the House Oversight Committee that he didn’t face pressure from others at the White House to grant clearances, according to a report by The Hill.

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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UK house price rise speeds up in September: Nationwide

FILE PHOTO: An apartment block is constructed behind a row of traditional properties in central London December 11, 2014. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor/Files

LONDON (Reuters) – British house prices rose by the most in four years in September when they jumped by an annual 5.0%, mortgage lender Nationwide said on Wednesday as a sharp rebound in the country’s housing market accelerated.

The increase was stronger than the median forecast of a 4.5% rise in a Reuters poll of economists and average prices hit a fresh record high.

Britain’s housing market has boomed since the coronavirus lockdown with a rush by some buyers for bigger houses outside of urban areas in the new work-from-home age combining with pent-up demand.

Nationwide said about 10% of people it surveyed in September were in the process of moving as a result of the pandemic, rising to 15% in London. A further 18% of those asked said they were considering moving due to the pandemic.

“Behavioural shifts may also be boosting activity as people reassess their housing needs and preferences as a result of life in lockdown,” Nationwide’s chief economist Robert Gardner said.

Housing industry officials have warned that the mini-boom could run out of steam soon with unemployment expected to rise sharply and COVID-19 cases on the rise again.

Nationwide said prices rose by 0.9% in September from August compared with a forecast of a 0.5% increase in the Reuters poll.

Nationwide said the housing market had also been boosted by finance minister Rishi Sunak’s tax cut on house purchases which he introduced in July as he sought to boost the broader economy after its record 20% contraction between April and June.

Bank of England data published on Tuesday showed mortgage approvals hit their highest in almost 13 years in August.

Reporting by Sarah Young; editing by William Schomberg

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UK property prices rise at fast rate in 4 years in September

Estate agents property for sale boards on display outside a residential property in north London. Photo: Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA
Estate agents property for sale boards on display outside a residential property in north London. Photo: Dinendra Haria / SOPA Images/Sipa USA

UK house prices are surging at their fastest rate in four years, as pent up demand post-lockdown and a temporary Stamp Duty cut fuel a buying boom.

Nationwide’s closely-watched House Price Index found prices jumped by 5% on an annual basis in September, the biggest increase since September 2016.

Prices grew by 0.9% between August and September. Both the annual growth figure and the month-on-month growth were ahead of City forecasts.

The average UK house price now stands at £226,129 ($288,167), Nationwide said.

Watch: Why house prices are rising despite COVID-19 and a recession in the UK

“The rebound reflects a number of factors,” said Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s Chief Economist.

“Pent-up demand is coming through, with decisions taken to move before lockdown now progressing. The stamp duty holiday is adding to momentum by bringing purchases forward. Behavioural shifts may also be boosting activity as people reassess their housing needs and preferences as a result of life in lockdown.”

Gardner said the pandemic was encouraging people to move. Lockdowns and working from home have spurred many people to look for new properties with more space and a garden, with less concern about commuting distance.

READ MORE: UK mortgage approvals hit highest level since 2007

25% of people surveyed by Nationwide in London said they were moving as a result of the lockdown, while another 15% of residents in the capital were thinking about moving.

All regions of the UK saw house prices grow between July and September. The highest growth was in the South West of England, where annual price growth was 5.5%.

Nationwide’s price data comes a day after the Bank of England said mortgage approvals hit a 13-year high in August, underlining the strength of the property boom.

Experts believe the property market could loose steam in the coming months as the government’s economic support measures unwind.

“Most forecasters expect labour market conditions to weaken significantly in the quarters ahead as tighter restrictions dampen economic activity and the furlough scheme winds down,” said Gardener.

“While the recently announced jobs support scheme will provide some assistance, it is not as comprehensive as the furlough scheme it replaces.”

Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said: “We continue to expect the official measure of prices to peak in October, and then to reverse all of its gains since March over the following 12 months.”

Estate agents Hamptons expects house prices to fall across much of the UK next year.

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Garden City, NY Coronavirus Updates & News For September 29



Mineola, NY |
15h

Two people tested positive for COVID-19 at Hampton Street and Mineola Middle Schools. Mineola High School also recorded a case, records show

Two people tested positive for COVID-19 at Hampton Street and Mineola Middle Schools. Mineola High School also recorded a case, records showed.
Two people tested positive for COVID-19 at Hampton Street and Mineola Middle Schools. Mineola High School also recorded a case, records showed. (Google Maps Image)

MINEOLA, NY — Three Mineola schools recently recorded coronavirus cases, according to state records and district officials…. Read more



Hicksville, NY |
15h

The student was on-site but was not determined to be in close contact with other students or staff, officials say.

HICKSVILLE, NY — A Hicksville High School student has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, but the school was not required to close, officials said…. Read more



Syosset, NY |
16h

Friendly’s, a struggling family restaurant and ice cream parlor, closed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

SYOSSET, NY — A Friendly’s restaurant in Syosset permanently closed over the weekend amid struggles brought on by the coronavirus pandemic…. Read more



Farmingdale, NY |
1m

More than half the respondents are not convinced the measures taken by local officials to reopen schools will keep the community safe.

LONG ISLAND, NY — Students have gone back to school, and Long Island/Hudson Valley families have mixed feelings on how local officials are handling education safety amid the coronavirus pandemic. More than half of those who responded to a Patch survey are not convinced that the safety measures being taken by local officials to reopen schools will keep school communities safe, but more parents believe their children are safe in… Read more

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Federal judge orders Census Bureau to keep counting past end of September

A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration’s plan to end the 2020 census count a month early and said administration officials knew, but failed to disclose, that the speedup would lead to an inaccurate population count.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh of San Jose issued a nationwide injunction Thursday night requiring the Census Bureau to return to its previous schedule of contacting households and counting residents through Oct. 31. The bureau had announced Aug. 3 that it would end census-taking on Sept. 30 so that it could deliver the results to President Trump by the legal deadline of Dec. 31.

The once-per-decade population count determines each state’s number of seats in the House of Representatives and is used by federal officials to apportion $1.5 trillion in funds per year.

In the Aug. 3 announcement, the Census Bureau said the shortened schedule would not affect the accuracy of the count. But less than two weeks earlier, Koh said, a bureau official issued a memo saying the speedup would lead to a census of “unacceptable quality.” And the Census Bureau’s associate director for field operations wrote that anyone who thought the results could be delivered by Dec. 31 “has either a mental deficiency or a political motivation.”

While the Census Bureau was publicly declaring that it would meet the deadline by hiring additional staff and increasing training, Koh said, the bureau’s own reports showed it had only 38% of the census-takers it needed.

In ordering the speedup, Koh said, administration officials violated “their constitutional and statutory obligations to produce an accurate census” and “offered an explanation that runs counter to the evidence.”

She said the evidence showed that the Census Bureau “had received pressure from the Commerce Department” to shorten its schedule. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was appointed by Trump.

The Trump administration said Friday it will ask the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco to overturn Koh’s ruling.

Acting in a lawsuit by civil rights groups and local governments, Koh had issued a restraining order Sept. 6 requiring the Census Bureau to maintain full-scale operations while she considered whether to extend the census through October. She acted in response to a Justice Department court filing that said the bureau “has already begun taking steps to conclude field operations” in areas with high response rates.

Trump is also seeking to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census count, an action that could strip House seats from California and other states with large immigrant populations. A federal court in New York has ruled against the president’s proposal, but the administration has appealed to the Supreme Court.

Derrick Johnson, chief executive of the NAACP, a plaintiff in the suit over the census schedule, said, “The decision to continue the census will ensure proper attention is given to overlooked and unreported

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Trillium Brewing reopens its beer garden on the Greenway on September 25

Summer may technically be over, but tell that to Trillium Brewing. The powerhouse brewing company announced that downtown favorite Trillium Garden on the Greenway will return to the Rose Kennedy Greenway at noon on Friday, Sept. 25, bringing back a summer tradition just in time for the start of fall.

“Since we first opened the Trillium Garden, my summer in Boston isn’t complete without beers under the sun in our special home on the Greenway,” Esther Tetreault, co-founder of Trillium Brewing, shared in a press release. “While opening later than we would have liked, watching the seasons change in the heart of our city will be a great way to extend the summer outdoors and transition into a classic New England autumn.”

Trillium Garden will be open Thursdays through Saturdays from noon to 8 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. at the intersection of High Street and Atlantic Avenue. Operating during a pandemic will come with a few new changes: reservations are encouraged, contactless ordering is enforced, and there are strict social distancing and cleanliness protocols.

In order to fulfill the state’s guidelines that require food to be ordered with the first drink, guests must order food from one of the Greenway’s on-site trucks, which might include Bon Me, Pennypacker, or Zaaki. As for the beers, this year’s starting lineup features the Arnold Arboretum IPA, Black is Beautiful, Fated Farmer Fruit Salad, Heavy Mettle, Mosaic Cutting Tiles, and more.

For the first time since it debuted in the summer of 2017, the garden will also include an on-site brewhouse, where Trillium will be able to brew small batch special releases on the Greenway. On-site brewing will begin in the coming days.

“Brewing and creative inspiration is at the heart of everything we do,” Tetreault said. “Collaborating with our friends at the Greenway Conservancy, in concert with state and local agencies, has allowed us to bring the beer garden concept to the next level, providing our guests a special, sustainable experience.”

Reservations can be made up to seven days in advance on Resy (there will still be space set aside for walk-ins). Each table can be reserved for up to 90 minutes, and can hold a maximum of six people.

In addition to the Trillium beer garden, visitors can stop by City Winery on the Greenway, a wine garden that first debuted in 2019, or stroll through Chin Park at night to take in the Greenway Conservancy’s newest art installation: “Lantern Stories” by Boston-based artist Yu-Wen Wu.

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Midtown-Hell’s Kitchen, NY Coronavirus Updates & News For September 25



Midtown-Hell’s Kitchen, NY |
1d

For the first time in over a century, crowds won’t flock to Times Square for New Year’s Eve—but the ball will still drop, organizers said.

A general view during New Year's Eve 2017 in Times Square on December 31, 2016 in New York City.
A general view during New Year’s Eve 2017 in Times Square on December 31, 2016 in New York City. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

MIDTOWN MANHATTAN, NY — For the first time in more than a century, crowds will not flock to Times Square for New Year’s Eve this year, organizers of the annual event said Wednesday, announcing that the pandemic will force the ball drop to become a mostly virtual occasion — with some limited in-person components…. Read more



Mount Vernon, NY |
14h

Many families skipped or postponed vaccines and visits during the pandemic. Though COVID-19 is still spreading, catching up is critical.

Consumer Reports has no relationship with advertisers on this site…. Read more



New York City, NY |
11h

Mayor Bill de Blasio framed a broad vision of New York City emerging from the coronavirus crisis as a global hub of health care innovation.

NEW YORK CITY — Mayor Bill de Blasio laid out a grand vision of public health investment driving New York City’s recovery from the coronavirus crisis. … Read more



New York City, NY |
1d

Met Opera Cancels Season | 4-Year-Old’s Body Found In River | ‘RBG Way’ Could Come To UWS

Share-worthy stories from the New York City Patch network to talk about tonight.These NYC Schools Had Coronavirus Cases Reported Over The Weekend… Read more



New York City, NY |
1d

Pandemic limitations have already reshaped the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Times Square New Year’s Eve, but other events will change.

NEW YORK CITY — Outdoor events in New York City, including some iconic traditions, will take a different form at least through New Year’s Eve.Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday extended coronavirus restrictions until Dec. 31 on events permitted by the city’s parks, police and Street Activity Permit Office.In plain English, that means don’t expect your favorite crowded holiday public events to go forward as if the pandemic isn’t… Read more



New York City, NY |
1d

Three schools were closed — but have since reopened — out of 21 with confirmed cases between Sept. 18 to 21.

NEW YORK CITY — Staff at 21 New York City schools tested positive for coronavirus in days running up to in-person learning’s return, officials said.The tests prompted the temporary closures of three city schools — P.S. 165 in Manhattan and J.H.S. 131 Albert Einstein and I.S. 219 New Ventures, both in the Bronx, according to Department of Education officials.Those schools, which each had two positive cases within a week, have since… Read more



New York City, NY |
1d

COVID-19 surges in several Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods are bigger problems than officials first realized, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

NEW YORK CITY — New data shows coronavirus upticks in Brooklyn and Queens neighborhoods are a bigger problem than officials first realized, Mayor Bill

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Garden City, NY Coronavirus Updates & News For September 23



North Fork, NY |
1h

Don’t miss a minute of the fun with Patch’s guide on where to go this fall for pumpkin picking, while still adhering to COVID-19 protocols.

Pumpkin-picking is unfolding across Long Island, with an eye toward social distancing.
Pumpkin-picking is unfolding across Long Island, with an eye toward social distancing. (Courtesy Krupski Farms.)

LONG ISLAND, NY — The fall season means foliage, outdoor activities — and pumpkins. Pumpkin picking is a tried-and-true tradition, a time for family photographs and memories. And, with Gov. Andrew Cuomo announcing in September that the pumpkin picking, mazes and haunted mansions could open with coronavirus protocols, the annual fun is unfolding across Long Island…. Read more



Farmingdale, NY |
22h

We all know someone who’s making a difference. Let’s help share their amazing stories! Presented by Ring.

FARMINGDALE, NY — When times are tough, heroes emerge. We all know someone who’s making a difference right now as we live through unprecedented and changing times…. Read more



Hicksville, NY |
22h

A staff member tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Students have shifted to remote learning.

HICKSVILLE, NY — A Hicksville school has closed and shifted to remote learning for two weeks after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. … Read more



Deer Park-North Babylon, NY |
23h

The district will go full remote on Tuesday after a confirmed case of coronavirus was reported at the high school.

DEER PARK, NY — Deer Park High School will be closed on Tuesday after a confirmed case of coronavirus, Superintendent Jim Cummings announced in a letter to the community. … Read more



Port Washington, NY |
1d

A fourth case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has been found in Port Washington. The building was forced to close.

PORT WASHINGTON, NY — Another Port Washington student has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and the school building will close Tuesday, officials said…. Read more



Great Neck, NY |
1d

Officials say a student tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. His classmates and teacher are quarantining.

GREAT NECK, NY — A Great Neck student has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and both teachers and classmates who shared a classroom with the student were transitioned to remote learning for two weeks, the district said…. Read more



Plainview, NY |
1d

An employee contracted the virus and tested positive last week, state records showed. The school remained open Monday.

PLAINVIEW, NY — A worker at a Plainview school tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, according to state records and district communications. … Read more

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House Democrats unveil bill to avert a government shutdown at end of September

  • House Democrats unveiled a stopgap spending bill to keep the government open past Oct. 1.
  • It omits both farm aid — a Republican priority — but it also excludes food assistance for children during the pandemic, a measure Democrats sought.
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he opposed the plan, raising the risks of a government shutdown.
  • The plan aims to keep the government funded until Dec. 11, when Congress would have to pass another spending bill.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

House Democrats unveiled their stopgap plan to keep the government funded past the end of September, omitting key priorities both parties sought.

The 104-page bill aims to maintain federal spending levels until Dec. 11, when Congress would have to pass another spending plan. It leave out nearly $30 billion in farm aid the White House wanted. But it also excludes pandemic food assistance for children, a Democratic concern.

But Senate Republicans came out against the plan shortly after it was unveiled, raising the risks of a government shutdown only nine days before federal funding is depleted — and barely a month before the presidential election. 

“House Democrats’ rough draft of a government funding bill shamefully leaves out key relief and support that American farmers need,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wrote in a tweet. “This is no time to add insult to injury and defund help for farmers and rural America.”

The bill is set to receive a vote this week in the Democratic-led House and then another in the GOP-controlled Senate, Both chambers must pass similar spending measures so President Trump signs it into law. Scores of federal agencies will start shutting down if Congress fails to reach an agreement by midnight on September 30.

Democrats slammed Republicans for opposing the spending bill.

“This GOP proposal isn’t about farmers — it’s about a political slush fund for the Trump re-election campaign,” Evan Hollander, the communications director for Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee, wrote in a tweet.

Read more: 3 top investing executives lay out the biggest risks to markets heading into a volatile election season — and share their best recommendations for navigating what happens next

The GOP is pushing to include the bailout program in the short-term funding measure, otherwise known as a continuing resolution.

“We do prefer additional farm aid in the CR. Most of all we want a clean CR, keep the government open,” White House National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow told reporters on Monday.

The Trump administration and Congress approved $19 billion in federal aid for farmers as part of the CARES Act earlier this year. That’s in addition to nearly $20 billion that the White House directed to farmers as a result of Trump’s trade wars over the past two years.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed earlier this month to keep the coronavirus relief bill separate from discussions to avert a government shutdown.

Talks on a stimulus bill are still bogged down with

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