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.
Whether this confidence can be maintained remains to be seen in the data. We have clues from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) that September could have been another good month for retail sales.
The BRC's measure of like-for-like sales, published earlier this month, rose 1.9% in September, up from 1.3% in August. But it was not built on the soundest of foundations.
"Looking beneath the surface, we see that much of this growth is being driven by price increases filtering through, particularly in food and clothing," says Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC.
"Retailers have worked hard to keep a lid on price rises following the depreciation of the pound, but with a potent mix of more expensive imports and increasing business costs from various government policies, something had to give at some point."
The chart above shows, that both consumer and business confidence remain depressed compared to the pre-EU referendum period.
Business confidence ebbs
Businesses have been putting off major capital expenditure and other budgetary decisions until more is known about what they're likely to face in the post-Brexit era, and that includes significant wage rises.
And if further inflationary pressures build, consumers could make the same choice.
"Accordingly, growth in households' spending likely won't recover much next year even though the real wage squeeze will fade away," says Tombs.
What of Thursday's data, then? The consensus of analysts polled by Reuters expects the September data to show a month-on-month dip of 0.2%, bringing the annual rate of sales down to 2% from 2.4% in August.
Not a move to instil panic, and certainly not a sign of a trend until we've seen a few more months of data.
Paul Martin, head of retail at KPMG says: "With potential interest rate rises on the horizon, shaky consumer confidence and ever-increasing levels of household debt, uncertainty remains.
"We’re now moving into the final quarter, which will ultimately define whether 2017 has been a good or bad year for retailers."