Retail sales jump 0.3 % in July driven by online promotions

Retail sales jumped by 0.3 per cent in July despite the pressures of the cost-of-living crisis according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS said that sales volumes were up 0.3 per cent in July, following a revised fall of 0.2 per cent in June, with the slight recovery due to online sales promotions as consumers looked for online deals at events such as Amazon’s Prime Day.

The jump came as an unexpected sign of growth amid figures which suggest that overall spending is declining as consumers begin to feel the squeeze of record levels of inflation in household bills and the cost of goods and services.

Despite the small rise in headline sales, spending was down on clothing and larger household goods.

Figures for retail sales in terms of clothing store sales were down by 1.2 per cent and household goods store sales dropped by 0.4 per cent, driven by a falling off in sales at furniture and lighting shops.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:“The summer sunshine brought a slight uplift in sales. Summer clothing, air conditioning appliances and outdoor foods all benefitted from record temperatures, but most retailers will still be seeing falling volumes in the face of rising inflation.

“Consumer confidence has hit new lows as inflation soared past 10 per cent and talk of a recession has grown. The Bank of England expects inflation to reach over 13 per cent in October when energy bills rise again, further limiting discretionary spending for struggling households. For many businesses, 2022 is proving to be every bit as challenging as the pandemic.”

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