April 17, 2024

Retail sales rise in Great Britain as shoppers spend more on food Retail industry

The hottest June on record gave an unexpected boost to retail sales last month, with households in Great Britain buying more food and furniture despite continued pressure on budgets.

Official figures showed that the quantity of goods purchased rose by 0.7% month-on-month, well above the average analyst forecast of a 0.2% gain in sales, with most retailers reporting an increase in purchases, apart from petrol and diesel sellers.

That’s a retreat from the 0.1% monthly rise in retail sales in May, a figure revised down from initial estimates of 0.3%.

Supermarkets were one of the biggest drivers of consumer spending, with food sales benefiting from discounts and rising temperatures. Food shops fell by 0.4% in May, while sales rose by 0.7% in June, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The warmer weather also encouraged more people to hit the high street, leading to higher sales at department stores and furniture. Shoppers also turned to second-hand goods, including from auction houses, and spent more at art galleries, the ONS survey showed.

Clothing stores were the winner, however, with volumes falling 0.4% month-on-month to a level that was 1.5% below pre-Covid levels in February 2020.

Overall, non-food retailers increased by 1% last month, an improvement on the 0.5% increase in May.

The ONS’s chief economist, Grant Fitzner, said: “Retail sales grew strongly, with food sales bouncing back from the effects of the extra bank holiday, partly helped by the good weather, and department stores and furniture also had a strong month.

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“However, these were partially offset by falls in fuel, garden centers and clothing stores. Growth still fell on an annual basis, but at the slowest rate since the war in Ukraine began.”

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