UK retail sales jump as hot weather sends Brits to the shops

LONDON — Retail sales in the UK jumped during the month of June as Brits spent more money on clothing thanks to an extended period of hot, sunny weather, new data from the ONS released on Thursday shows.

Sales grew by 2.9% on a year-on-year basis, the ONS said, up from just 0.9% in May, and ahead of the 2.7% that had been forecast be economists polled prior to the release.

On a month-to-month basis, growth was 0.6%, compared to an expected 0.4%, the data showed.

“Today’s retail sales figures show overall growth. A particularly warm June seems to have prompted strong sales in clothing, which has compensated for a decline in food and fuel sales for the month,” Kate Davies, a senior statistician at the ONS said in a statement.

“Looking at the quarterly data, the underlying trend as suggested by the three-month on three-month movement is one of growth, following a fall in quarter 1, suggesting a relatively flat first half of 2017.”

The sales numbers come two days after ONS data showed a surprised fall in the rate of inflation in June. CPI, the most widely watched measure of price growth, fell from 2.9% to 2.6%.

“Today’s fall in inflation is mainly due to drops in petrol and diesel prices. However, the rate remains higher than in the recent past,” ONS Deputy National Statistician Jonathan Athow said in a statement.

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