The UK’s retail sales bounced back in June as Brits shrugged off the surprise election result and hit the shops with enthusiasm.
The Office for National Statistics said today that sales rose by 0.6 per cent overall for the month, ahead of forecasts of a 0.4 per cent rise.
The June figures brought the quarterly increase to 1.5 per cent, reversing a 1.4 per cent decline in the first quarter of 2017, and representing a recovery from the four-year low recorded in May.
Retail sales on the UK rose by 0.6 per cent overall in June, ahead of forecasts of 0.4 per cent.
The warmer than usual weather was credited with getting people out of the house to spend some money at the shops, particularly on new summer clothes.
Average prices, including petrol stations, increased by 2.7 per cent on the year, which was down from 3.2 per cent in May as the low oil price took the sting out of pump costs.
Online sales continued their relentless rise, increasing year-on-year by 15.9 per cent and by 1.8 per cent on the month, accounting for around 16.2 per cent of all retail spending.
ONS senior statistician Kate Davies said: ‘Today’s retail sales figures show overall growth. A particularly warm June seems to have prompted strong sales in clothing, which has compensated for a decline in food and fuel sales for the month.’
‘Looking at the quarterly data, the underlying trend as suggested by the three-month on three-month movement is one of growth, following a fall in quarter one, suggesting a relatively flat first half of 2017.’
Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit sounded a note of caution however.
‘UK retail sales surprised to the upside in June, but with spending likely to have been buoyed by sunny weather, the upturn does little to change the underlying picture of an economy that seems to be losing momentum as we move into the second half of the year,’ he said.
Clothing sales were particularly strong during June.
‘The fact that retail sales growth picked up in the second quarter adds to signs from PMI business survey data that economic growth likely perked up after the lackluster 0.2 per cent expansion seen in the first three months of the year.’
‘The improvement needs to be treated with some caution, however, as sales were boosted by particularly sunny weather, suggesting some pay-back in seasonal spending may be seen later in the summer,’ Williamson continued.
‘Retailers apparently reported that clothing sales in particular had been boosted by the warmer weather in June, rising 6.2 per cent on a year ago.’
‘It was a relief to see such a strong performance in June, but this does not mean that retail woes are over, and investors should not read too much into the increase,’ added Michael Baxter, economics commentator for The Share Centre.
‘The retail sector continues to struggle, and only retailers who apply an effective digital strategy will thrive.’