The first official retail sales figures of July from the Office of National Statistics were released this morning, showing growth across all sectors despite Brexit uncertainty.
In what is widely regarded as the first accurate barometer of the economy after the June 23 EU Referendum, the ONS report shows that despite widespread fear that the vote would have a damaging effect on the UK economy, all sectors reported healthy growth and sales.
Covering the period betweem July 3-30, the report is based on sales made in Great Britain.
It shows that the volume of sales increased by 5.9 per cent compared to 2015. This is also up 1.4 per cent from June, with the main growth coming from non-food sectors.
This graph shows the percentage in sales growth year on year:
Average prices fell by two per cent year-on-year, and fell 0.8 per cent from June, whereas the amount spent in retail increased by 3.6 per cent year-on-year and rose 1.6 per cent from the previous month.
Online sales also fared well, increasing 16.7 per cent from last year and 1.2 per cent from June.
This is the highest rate of growth since March last year, and demonstrates a consistent rate of growth in the retail sector since 2013. The strong sales last month were driven by the department store and clothing sectors, due to an unusually hot month.
These results demonstrate restored consumer confidence and have subsequently caused the value of the Pound jumps one cent over the dollar to a two week high.
“These retail figures show that the UK’s exit from the EU, and weakened pound, has helped to drive an uplift in sales – now could not be a more opportune moment for British retailers to invest in online cross-border activity,” Global-e co-founder Nir Debbi said.
“International consumers are opportunistic to value and having access to high quality British products at a lower price point will appeal to them.”
Not all economists were as optimistic about the result. Retail specialist at Lloyds Bank Paul Morales said: “This is the first full month of sales figures following the referendum and today’s evidence suggests the result has done little to dampen shoppers’ appetite to spend.
“But sales were also boosted by some widespread discounting, and it is unclear how sustainable continued price cuts are if consumer activity does begin to slow.”