Retail sales blitz expectations in July sending sterling rallying

Retail sales in July trounced analysts’ expectations thanks to the hot weather and tail end of the World Cup.

According to new figures from the Office for National Statistics, retail sales grew 0.7 per cent in July, well above expectations of a 0.2 per cent rise and a marked improvement on June’s 0.5 per cent decrease.

In the three months to July, retail sales grew by the highest levels since February 2015 at 2.1 per cent.

Furthermore, online spending also hit a record high, now accounting for 18.2 per cent of all retail sales during the month, growing 4.9 per cent year-on-year and 16.9 per cent compared to June.

“Many consumers stayed away from some high street stores in July, but online sales were very strong, supported by several retailers launching promotions,” ONS senior statistician Rhian Murphy said.

“Food sales remained robust as people continued to enjoy the World Cup and the sunshine,”

The promising results have been positive for the sterling, which rose 0.24 per cent to $1.272.

Head of retail at Deloitte Ian Geddes added: “The year-on-year boost to both volumes and values should reassure the sector.

“Success stories can be found in every sector and the future outlook is promising with evidence of reinvention and investment. The high street is far from dead, it is evolving.”

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