Retail sales volumes unexpectedly dropped in June, but after two strong months of growth sales for the quarter grew at their fastest rate since 2015.
Sales declined by 0.5 per cent in June after growing by 1.4 per cent in May. The reading was below market expectations of 0.2 per cent growth, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters.
The decline was not enough to stop retail sales growth in the second quarter of 2018 from being the strongest since February 2015. Food stores — which were boosted by uncharacteristically good weather and the World Cup — saw growth of 2.2 per cent, the highest rate since May 2001.
Commenting on the retail sales figures, Office for National Statistics 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.”