Sunny June saw “welcome pick-up to sales growth” amid inflation warnings

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June

UK retail sales were revived by the warm weather last month as shoppers flocked to spend on summer clothes, although inflation is thought to have been “fueling part of this retail growth”.

New figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG reveal a two per cent boost in total sales in June, 10 times the growth seen the same month last year.

Like-for-like sales grew by 1.2 per cent, up from a 0.5 per cent decline last year, while total food sales saw its strongest 16-week average since 2012 with a 4.7 per cent rise.

Meanwhile, online sales also saw a return to form from record lows in May, jumping 10.1 per cent compared to a nine per cent boost a year prior.

“For fashion retailers, the boost in sales could not have come soon enough,” KPMG’s UK head of retail Paul Martin said.

“Following a challenging year so far, it appears the higher temperatures thankfully provided an increased interest in summer collections.

READ MORE: Consumer spend suffers after “quadruple whammy” to economy

“Elsewhere, the sun also shone on health and beauty sales too, with the category continuing to be a top performer.”

Despite one of the warmest Junes on record encouraging shoppers to the high street, BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson attributes the latest figures to inflation on food.

“On closer inspection, the year-on-year numbers belie the fact that rising food prices are responsible for the main component of growth and have prompted more cautious spending towards discretionary non-food items,” she said.

“The reality is that retailers’ efforts in absorbing mounting cost pressures into their margins are already being tested, so the government must have the consumer front of mind as it enters the UK’s trading negotiations with the EU, to avoid any further cost increases to retailers and their customers.”

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