We’re told by the assembled press of the nation that retail sales have fallen to their lowest level ever. This is of course idiocy and no such thing has happened. Not in the slightest. If we actually had the occasional numerate person working in the UK press then this mistake would not happen. For they’ve confused the rate of change – the acceleration perhaps – with the level – say, the speed. Which is, indeed, idiocy with numbers:
UK consumer spending falls to record low
Well, OK, that’s a headline, allow some slack there.
July’s hot weather failed to boost consumer spending in the UK which fell to a new low amid Brexit uncertainty and slow real wage growth.
No, actually, it didn’t fall and it’s not at a record low. As the next line tells us:
Average retail sales over the year to July rose by 0.5% – a record low according to the British Retail Consortium and KPMG.
The increase in retail spending is at a record low – not the level, which as we can see is half a percent up on that previous level.
The Guardian’s no better than the BBC:
British retailers have recorded the worst month for sales in July since records began, as consumers tighten their belts with Brexit approaching.
No they haven’t, don’t be stupid.
According to British Retail Consortium sales data compiled by the accountancy firm KPMG, total sales increased by 0.3% in July, compared with a rise of 1.6% in July last year.
Sales are that 0.3% better than last year, aren’t they?
Last month was an awful one for British retailers as they endured their worst July since records began. Total sales increased by 0.3% in July, compared with a rise of 1.6% in July last year, according to British Retail Consortium data compiled by the accountancy firm KPMG. The industry lobby group said the rise was the weakest since its records began in 1995. It blamed “the combination of slow real wage growth and Brexit
It might be the worst rise but it’s not the worst level therefore, is it?
Retail sales over past year weakest since records began in 1995, survey shows
Fewer pounds were spent in British shops than in 1995? I think not, eh?
Et tu FT?
Department stores suffer in worst July retail sales on record
These things aren’t going to get any better until we fire all the arts graduates currently writing the newspapers and replace them with people at least numerate. Even grievance studies teaches how to count the oppression, doesn’t it?