Retail sales warm up in Great Britain as shoppers spend more on food

11 months ago 74

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.

Officials figures showed that the quantity of goods bought rose 0.7% month on month, much higher than average analyst forecasts of a 0.2% bump in sales volumes, with most retailers reporting purchases were up, aside from petrol and diesel sellers.

That is a bounceback from the mere 0.1% monthly rise in retail sales in May, a figure that has been 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 stores, which had experienced a 0.4% drop in May, bounced back with a 0.7% rise in sales in June, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

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

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

Overall, non-food retailers experienced a 1% rise in sales volumes last month, marking an improvement on the 0.5% rise in May.

The ONS 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 good weather, and department stores and furniture shops also having a strong month.

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“However, these were partially offset by falls in fuel, garden centres and clothes shops. Growth still fell on an annual basis, but at its slowest rate since the beginning of the Ukraine war.”

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