Wet Weather Dampens Retail Sales

Retail sales fell by a worse-than-predicted 0.9% in June as poor weather dampened the demand for summer fashions, official figures have shown.

It was the biggest month-on-month decline this year, despite a boost to the wider sector from events such as the Euro 2016 football tournament and the Queen’s 90th birthday.

There was no anecdotal evidence of the unexpected result of the EU referendum affecting sales during the five-week period ending on 5 July, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, though experts warned it could weigh on retailers in future months.

Melanie Richard, ONS head of retail sales, said: “All types of stores showed growth in June with the exception of clothing and footwear which struggled again due to the changeable weather.

“But department stores continued to see strong sales compared with last June – boosted by events such as Father’s Day, the Euro 2016 football and the Queen’s official birthday.”

Consumer spending has helped drive wider UK growth in the last three years as the country has recovered from the recession with retail sales increasing 1.6% in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, the Council of Mortgage Lenders (CML) reported a 16% rise in gross mortgage lending to £20.7bn in June – the highest June figure since 2008.

CML senior economist Mohammad Jamei said the EU referendum result was likely to affect the housing market though, its current position is “relatively favourable” and likely to be boosted by Bank of England action on interest rates next month.

For the full article, see Sky News.

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