UK retail sales unexpectedly rose in July, boosted by online shopping, according to figures released on Friday by the Office for National Statistics.
Retail sales were up 0.3% following a 0.2% fall in June, and versus expectations for a 0.2% decline. On the year, however, retail sales were 3.4% lower, compared to expectations for a 3.3% drop.
Sales volumes were 2.3% above their pre-coronavirus February 2020 levels, but down over the past year.
The figures showed that non-store retailing – namely online retailers – saw sales rise 4.8% on the month in July thanks to a range of promotions.
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% and talk of a recession has grown. The Bank of England expects inflation to reach over 13% 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.”