Much attention has been paid in the last few months to the persistence of UK inflation and its effect on the outlook for interest rates. Today the consumer price index is expected to hit 3%.
But let's focus on Thursday's retail sales data and what that is likely to tell us about the current health of, and the outlook for the UK consumer.
Retail sales data for August, published last month, appeared to show that the UK consumer remained in decent shape, as sales increased by 2.4%, up from 1.4% in the previous month and the 52nd-consecutive month of year-on-year increases.
Inflation pressures build
This in spite of the much-lamented shrinkage in real wages in the past months as inflation pushes higher and average annual wage growth fails to keep pace.
Indeed, on breaking down the August data it was revealed that – yes, price increases were partly responsible for the growth in retail sales – however, underlying growth in sales volumes showed strong appetite remained for non-essential goods, despite higher prices.
Real wages may have been shrinking, but credit growth has not. Until now.
Bank of England data published last week showed lenders reeled in the amount of unsecured credit issued in August.
"Although competition and growth in this market remain strong, there are tentative signs of a slight tightening in lending criteria, with lenders expecting further tightening in the fourth quarter," the Bank said.
As credit conditions begin to worsen and wage growth continues to lag price growth, can we expect the consumer to remain confident about future spending.
"It is increasingly likely that credit flows in the economy will slow over the next year, keeping growth in households' spending weak even as real incomes start to rise again," says Samuel Tombs at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
Brexit vote dents pound
Consumers can be forgiven for some of their gloom. The pound hasn't bought as much since falling 13% against the euro and 8% versus the dollar following the EU referendum.
Luxury imports cost more as the pound loses its buying power abroad. So too, do imports of raw materials, pushing up the costs of manufactured goods.
"Despite uncertainty from Brexit and a modest temporary real wage squeeze, consumer confidence remains well above its 10-year average," says Kallum Pickering, senior UK economist at Berenberg.