UK Retail Sales Rise 0.7% Amid Good Weather and Sales

British consumers’ purchases rose by 0.7% in June after increasing just 0.1% in May.

Month-over-month retail sales volumes in the United Kingdom increased across all the main sectors except for automotive fuel, the Office for National Statistics reported Friday (July 21).

By sector, the sales volumes rose by 1.0% in non-food stores, 0.7% in food stores and 0.2% in non-store retailing, according to the report. There was a 0.3% drop in sales volumes at automotive fuel stores.

Non-store retailing includes primarily online retailers, but also stalls and markets.

The report attributed the increases to summer sales and increased foot traffic at department stores and furniture retailers, and good weather and promotions that helped sales at some supermarkets.

On a quarterly basis, retail sales volumes for the three months ending in June were 0.4% higher than those for the three months ending in March, according to the report.

The report also showed the continuing impact of inflation in the U.K. Compared to the pre-pandemic month of February 2020, total retail sales value was 17.9% higher, while the sales volume was 0.2% lower.

The 0.7% growth in retail sales was greater than expected, beating the 0.2% forecast of economists polled by Reuters, the media outlet reported Friday.

The sales volume increased despite the country’s inflation rate of 8%, which is the highest of any large economy, according to the report.

The previous month, May, had seen an unexpected rise in retail sales that was attributed to the holiday celebrating the coronation of King Charles III.

The Office for National Statistics reported June 23 that May’s retail sales volumes rose 0.3% in May, but on Friday it revised that month’s figure to 0.1%.

Analysts had expected a decline of 0.2% in May, Reuters reported June 23.

It was reported Thursday (July 20) that the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said that high food price inflation in the country has not been driven by weak retail competition.

With official data showing food price inflation to have reached 19%, the highest since 1977, in March, this is a major strain on the finances of many British households.