Retail Sales Rise As Spending Jumps In July

UK retail sales

Stefan Wermuth Reuters

Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said, "The UK jobs market continued to strengthen in the run-up to the European Union referendum vote, with firms continuing to recruit despite a softening economic picture".

Output per hour worked rose 0.5 per cent in the three months to June compared with the January-March period, when it also rose 0.5 per cent, the ONS said, basing its estimate on preliminary economic growth data and labour market figures. The number of vacancies in the job market fell slightly on the month, to 741,000, although there were still more available positions in July than there were a year earlier. "The month-on-month data tend to be fairly volatile and temporary factors such as July's warm weather seems to have boosted spending" said Ruth Gregory of Capital Economics. The Bank of England expects unemployment to rise only gradually - to 5.1 percent by early next year - though it's already taken pre-emptive action with an interest-rate cut and a new round of quantitative easing to stave off a bigger shock. The data will lessen concerns that consumer spending has been damaged by the referendum Brexit vote.

Retail sales, excluding fuel, were up 5.4% in July year-on-year, compared with a reading of 3.9% in June.

United Kingdom retail sales rebounded in July and remained subdued due to wet weather dampening the sale of summer clothing.

The number of non-British workers employed in the United Kingdom rose by 110,000 in the three months before the Brexit vote, according to official figures.

"We see the potential for the pound to fall to 1.2000 against the dollar by the end of the year", he said.

The July data was measured on 14 July, three weeks after the referendum, meaning it might not reflect the full extent of any post-Brexit fall in hiring, economists said prior to the release.

He added that there was anecdotal evidence suggesting the weaker pound encouraged overseas visitors to spend.

United Kingdom retail sales rebounded from their June slump as a weak pound lured tourist spending power to British shops after the Brexit vote.

The yearly figure saw a 5.9 percent rise, boosting confidence about the United Kingdom economy following the decision to quit the European Union.

Major retailers including Tesco, Next and John Lewis say they have not been affected so far by the referendum result, while the British Retail Consortium also said spending in shops bounced in July.

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