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New figures: UK retail sales rebound in July

UK retail sales increased by 1.1% year-on-year on a like-for-like basis in July as the warmer weather and some well-timed promotions offered by retailers helped to boost trade.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

New figures: UK retail sales rebound in July

UK retail sales increased by 1.1% year-on-year on a like-for-like basis in July as the warmer weather and some well-timed promotions offered by retailers helped to boost trade.

The figures released by the British Retail Consortium and KPMG in their monthly retail sales monitor show that total sales rose by 1.9% to mark the strongest growth since January.

Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive, said: “This month’s solid sales figures may come as a shock to some given the slew of early indicators suggesting that consumer activity was slowing in the wake of the referendum result. However, little has materially changed for most UK households in the wake of June 23, so it is not surprising to us that sales are simply responding to their normal underlying drivers.”

On a three-month basis, total UK retail sales edged up 1.1%, in line with the 12-month average of 1.2%.

The month’s heatwave helped to lift sales of food and drink as shoppers bought items for picnics and barbecues. Fashion sales also benefited as retailers offered a range of promotions. In addition, sales of jewellery and watches improved as international consumers took advantage of a weaker sterling to buy more expensive items.

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: “Warmer weather helped blow away some of the post-referendum blues, boosting the UK feel good factor and giving consumers a sense that ‘life goes on’ following the initial shock of the Brexit vote.”

Dickinson added: “The big question for retailers is whether that success can be carried forward into full price sales. Whilst retailers continue to monitor the situation in the wake of Brexit, responding to rapid and complex change in consumer behaviour in the midst of a highly competitive market remains the substantive challenge.”

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