Last month’s scorching temperatures, marking the hottest June on record, unexpectedly gave a significant boost to retail sales in the UK.
Despite the ongoing pressure on household budgets, officials reported a 0.7% increase in the quantity of goods bought compared to the previous month.
This surge in sales volumes was much higher than analysts’ average forecasts, which had predicted a mere 0.2% bump.
Supermarkets drive consumer spending
The supermarket sector was one of the key drivers of this consumer spending boom. Food sales, in particular, experienced a notable increase as rising temperatures and discounts drew more shoppers to the stores.
After a 0.4% drop in May, food stores bounced back with a solid 0.7% rise in sales in June, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) report.
High street and furniture sales soar
The scorching weather encouraged more people to hit the high street, leading to higher sales at department stores and furniture outlets.
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The enticing weather also led to an increase in purchases of second-hand goods, including those from auction houses, and higher spending at art galleries, as reported by the ONS survey.
Clothing stores face a decline
While the overall retail sales saw a boost, clothing stores experienced a decline with a 0.4% drop in sales volumes compared to the previous month. This brought their levels to 1.5% below pre-Covid-19 levels in February 2020.
Despite this setback in the clothing sector, non-food retailers, as a whole, experienced a positive trend with a 1% rise in sales volumes in June, indicating an improvement compared to the 0.5% rise seen in May.
The ONS chief economist Grant Fitzner attributed the strong retail sales growth to the bounce back in food sales from the impact of an extra bank holiday, aided by the favourable weather.
Department stores and furniture shops also had a robust month, contributing to the overall positive performance of the retail sector in June.