Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, said: “Despite challenging economic conditions continuing, June saw another strong performance from the UK’s retailers. At this halfway point in the year we are able to see that sales are well ahead of the previous six-month period.”
Sales growth of 2.3% since the start of the year is ahead of last year’s annual growth of 1.5%. The strong figures are a further boost for a UK economy that is heading for growth of around 0.5% in the second quarter, and is dominated by service industries such as retail.
Clothing was the best-performing category, according to the BRC, although this was mainly due to poor spring weather leaving clothes rails packed with unsold summer outfits that were then sold at a discount in a bid to shift stock.
DIY and gardening centres also got a well-needed boost in sales after suffering a washout over Easter, a period seen as more important to the chains such of B&Q and Homebase than Christmas.
Online sales were up 14.1% on a year earlier, strongly ahead of the 10.5% long-term average. However, house textiles and home accessories were the worst-performing categories as they struggled against last year’s jubilee boost and shoppers spending more on fashion.
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