ONS hits problems again, delaying its retail index data

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has been hit by further IT problems, causing it to delay the publication of UK retail sales data scheduled for later this month.

The public data body admitted in a statement it had experienced “a delay in processing survey data” from its monthly barometer of Britain’s shopping habits.

The index had been due to be published on Sept 14. 

An ONS spokesman said the body had been hit by “computer problems” that were specific to the retail data set, adding there was “no reason to suspect any other data will be affected”.

But it is the latest in a raft of problems to hit the ONS. Howard Archer, chief economic advisor to the EY Item Club, commented: “It is not the first time that the ONS has had problems with the retail sales data.

“Given that there are concerns over the accuracy of some ONS data – hinted at by Bank of England governor Mark Carney in the past – it is certainly something they could have done without.”

The ONS said it would announce a new publication date “as soon as these technical issues are resolved”.

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