Retail sales up on promotions drive from department stores

Tim Wallace
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BRITISH retail sales increased strongly in the second quarter of the year, the Office for National Statistics announced yesterday.

Healthy June numbers show a 2.2 per cent rise in sales compared with the same month of 2012.

And quarterly sales increased 0.9 per cent on the second quarter of last year.

Online sales shot up 18.4 per cent while department stores’ sales improved 5.3 per cent.

Those stores’ sales were primarily driven by discounting and stock clearance, the ONS said.

But food shop sales dipped another 0.4 per cent on the year, while shops selling big ticket household goods also dropped 2.1 per cent, as consumer baulk over large one-off purchases.

“The resilience of retail sales despite these financial pressures could reflect rising consumer confidence in the economy,” said Scott Corfe from the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

“By cutting back on essentials households have created room to spend on the odd small luxury – though they are on the hunt for clearances and promotions on these items.”