Retail sales see strongest quarterly growth since 2015

Retail sales grew strongly across the three months to June as the warm weather encouraged shoppers to stock up on food and drink, figures show.

Sales increased by 2.1% over the quarter, the largest rise since February 2015, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Food stores saw the strongest growth since May 2001 at 2.2%, with feedback from supermarkets suggesting the continued good weather and World Cup celebrations had encouraged food and drink sales.

However retailers have suggested this resulted in a decrease in footfall in non-food stores which, along with non-store retailing, suffered a June decline of 0.5%.

ONS senior statistician Rhian Murphy said: "Retail sales grew strongly across the three months to June 2018 as the warm weather encouraged shoppers to buy food and drink for their BBQs.

"However, in June retail sales actually fell back slightly, with continued growth in food sales offset by declining spending in many other shops as consumers stayed away from stores and instead enjoyed the World Cup and the heatwave."

Tom Stevenson, investment director at Fidelity International, said: "The wide range of forecasts ahead of today's 0.5% reduction compared with May underscore the difficulty in reading much into the short-term signals from the High Street.

"We are in the middle of a long, hot barbecue summer punctuated by a royal wedding and football World Cup. April and May delivered strong growth on the High Street so a reversion to the mean in June was to be expected."

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