UK: July clothing and footwear sales boosted by good weather
UK textile, clothing and footwear retail sales were boosted by good weather in July, another sign that a tentative economic recovery is taking hold.
Textile, clothing and footwear sales quantities grew 1.4% during July, rising 4% by value compared to last year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said today (15 July).
Overall retail sales increased 4.9% by value, and volumes were up 3%. Compared to June, sales rose 1.4% by value and increased 1.1% by quantity.
British Retail Consortium (BRC) director general Helen Dickinson described the results as "strong" and that they "demonstrate just how well retailers have responded to the recent good weather".
She added: "These results today add to the signs we are seeing of a tentative recovery taking hold. UK retailers still face significant challenges, but the outlook is gradually improving."
The notion that the UK economy has reached a "turning point" was echoed by Ian Geddes, UK head of retail at Deloitte, who added that sales are growing at the "fastest rate in more than two and a half years".
Geddes said: "The recovery is building momentum. This is the third consecutive month-on-month rise and while we do not expect a return to pre-recession levels of consumer spending growth, there are increasing signs that purse strings are just beginning to loosen.
"This positivity needs to be tempered slightly due to the weak comparable figure from last year but coupled with positive news from elsewhere in the economy, retailers will begin to take some confidence that this recovery can be sustained through the rest of the year."
Although Economist Intelligence Unit retail analyst Jon Copestake warned that this boost may be short lived.
He said that while the fine weather, sporting successes and the royal baby are all likely to have contributed to looser purse strings in July is likely to continue into August, "continued low wage inflation and unemployment levels could weigh on finances in the autumn when the current positivity recedes."
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