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UK retail sales boosted by vacuum cleaners

U.K. retail sales were up in 0.4 percent in August compared to the previous month and gained almost 4 percent year-on-year, with consumers flocking to buy high-powered vacuum cleaners ahead of an EU ban.

The annual increase is now the 17th month of consecutive year-on-year growth according to data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which described the current retail climate as "one of growth. "

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Customers look at electrical goods inside a Currys and PC World, operated by Dixons Retail.
Bloomberg contributor | Getty Images

Sales of household goods surged in August, jumping 12.7 percent when compared with the previous year. The ONS said it was the largest year-on-year increase since October 2001.

Furniture stores were the main contributor, seeing growth of over 23 percent when compared to the same period last year, making it the largest jump in sales in 26 years when records began in 1988.

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Electrical appliance stores also added to the increase in sales, with retailers suggesting consumers were rushing to buy high-powered vacuum cleaners before EU energy saving regulations came into force at the end of August.

From 1 September, companies in the EU were banned from making or importing vacuum cleaners above 1600 watts.

The recently introduced rules are part of the EU's energy efficiency directive, designed to help tackle climate change.

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Despite the strength of sales, average store prices in the U.K. fell in August by 1.2 percent, when compared to August of 2013, the largest fall since 2009, largely down to the 5 percent dip in petrol prices.

Prices at food stores also fell slightly, by 0.1 percent, the first annual fall in prices since December 2004.

By CNBC's Jenny Cosgrave: Follow her on Twitter @jenny_cosgrave