Sunny Days Buoy UK Retail Sales in Q2

25 July 2005

As UK retailers brought forward their seasonal discount sales to match the early summer heatwave, shoppers responded in their droves, boosting June retail sales by 1.3% to their highest level in eighteen months.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics reveal that sales were 0.7% higher for the second quarter than in the first three months of the year, the best quarter-on-quarter rise since November 2004.

Compared with the same period in 2004, however, sales suffered their lowest annual growth rate, 1.6%, since February 1999.

As sales of sportswear and summer fashions soared in line with rising temperatures, clothing topped the retail sector growth increase, up by 3.5%.

All retail sectors enjoyed a sales increase in June, but household goods sales remained lower than a year ago, perhaps reflecting the sluggish housing market.

"The data should ease fears that the UK consumer sector has fallen off of the edge of a cliff" opined Gavin Redknap at Standard Chartered Bank, although analysts maintain an August interest rate cut by the Bank of England is still on the cards.

Data sourced from: BBC online; additional content by WARC staff