Wednesday 13 December 2017

UK retail sales edge up in July

British shoppers taking advantage of summer sales on the high street, official figures show
British shoppers taking advantage of summer sales on the high street, official figures show

Holly Williams

UK retail sales rose in July as shoppers took advantage of promotions to splash out on electrical appliances and furniture, according to figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said retail sales by volume rose 0.1pc month-on-month in a reversal of the unexpected 0.1pc fall seen in June.

Sales in household goods stores surged 13.4pc higher year-on-year in July as discounts and stronger housing market conditions boosted demand.

But the rise in sales was lower than the 0.4pc rise expected by most economists, with a fall in fuel sales on forecourts holding back progress.

Paul Hollingsworth, at Capital Economics, said the weaker than expected figures were "nothing to worry about".

He added: "Real pay is rising strongly, unemployment is still low and the recent fall-back in the oil price and the forthcoming cut to gas prices should give households' discretionary spending power another boost."

The ONS said, on an annual basis, sales were 4.2pc higher in July, marking the 28th month in a row of year-on-year growth, which is the longest run for more than seven years.

The underlying picture is also healthy, with quarter-on-quarter sales up by 0.5pc, although falls in prices on the high street has seen sales by value drop by 0.2pc between June and July.

Prices were slashed across the household goods and furniture sector in summer sales, with prices down by 2.4pc month-on-month in July.

Consumers are being boosted by record low interest rates and wage growth outstripping inflation. (PA)

Irish Independent

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