Strong sales of fashion and footwear helped drive a leap in consumer spending in June, according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium.
Sales grew by 2.9% in June, ahead of the year-to-date average of 2.8%, and better than the 12-month-average of 2.4%. However the figure is behind June 2012’s growth of 3.5% when sales were boosted by Jubilee celebrations.
Clothing was the best performing category, second only to footwear, as warmer weather prompted consumers to take advantage of discounted summer ranges to update their wardrobe. There was also strong demand for essential basic items, with women’s casual jerseys and men’s and boy’s light knitwear selling well.
In the three month period from April to June like-for-like non-food sales rose by 1.4%.
Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, said: “Despite challenging economic conditions continuing, June saw another strong performance from the UK’s retailers, with very respectable overall growth across the categories. At this halfway point in the year we are able to see that sales are well ahead of the previous six month period, confirming that the retail recovery is continuing.
“One of the best performing areas was fashion. As on the high street, online sales in June were particularly strong for clothes and shoes. There is some evidence that fashion purchases were delayed earlier in the year due to the cold weather. It seems that many people waited until the weather turned better before making decisions about their summer wardrobe.”
Online sales were up 14.1% compared with June 2012, when they rose by 12.1%; the best performance since July 2012, excluding Christmas.
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: “This is another respectable performance by UK retailers. Sales are moving in the right direction, albeit hard-earned and promotion driven. The statistics are all the more creditable as last year’s sales included a Jubilee boost.”