Finance

Retail sales boost drives "renewed sense of optimism" in June

Retail sales boost drives

Phil Mullis, Partner and Head of Retail and Wholesale at top-20 United Kingdom accountancy firm, Wilkins Kennedy, said: "Inflation pushed prices up but consumers have did benefit from a fall in fuel prices".

British retail sales rebounded 0.6 percent in June from the previous month as warmer weather boosted sales of summer wear, official data showed on Thursday.

LONDON-U.K. retail sales rebounded in the second quarter of the year, making a positive contribution to economic growth, data showed, signaling that Britons returned to stores despite the ongoing squeeze on their wallets. However, over the course of the year, prices have still gone up by an average of 1.8 per cent, with England's market leading the way.

According to the ONS figures, in June, prices in the rental market have remained flat when compared to May, which means that there has been no growth at all in the last quarter.

The rate of inflation stood at 2.6% in June, down from the four-year high of 2.9% reached in May, but above the Bank of England's 2% for target for the fourth consecutive month.

"A particularly warm June seems to have prompted strong sales in clothing, which has compensated for a decline in food and fuel sales this month", ONS statistician Kate Davies said.

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The data initially helped the pound rise back above the $1.30 level after jitters in early trading.

There is some support for consumer sending coming from current solid employment growth; but it is questionable if this can continue in the face of weakened United Kingdom economic activity, increasing business uncertainty and concerns over the UK's economic and political outlook. Nevertheless, shop price inflation is still highly likely to have outstripped wage growth.

The pound's slump since the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union means officials are likely to face a trade-off between lackluster growth and inflation exceeding their 2 percent target for some time.

Paul Hollingsworth, chief United Kingdom economist at Capital Economics, said that while it would be premature to get carried away over the state of the economy, the latest figures provided some much-needed good news.

Looking at the three months to June as a whole, which smooths out monthly volatility in the data, sales rose by 1.5 per cent, cancelling out a 1.4 per cent drop in the first three months of 2017, the weakest calendar quarter since 2010.


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