UK retail picks up as consumer spending rises

SALES by retailers rose 2.9 per cent in the year to June, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said this morning, reflecting a recent rise in consumer spending.

Like-for-like sales, which exclude expanded shop floor space, were up 1.4 per cent, the BRC revealed.

Retail sales values have risen by three per cent in the first half of this year, in comparison to the first half of 2012. Last year, the figure was 1.8 per cent.

Retail growth has been led particularly by non-food items. Fashion sales rose notably in June, as the previously unseasonable weather improved. Though sales of food only rose roughly in line with inflation over the year, the BRC suggested that demand was particularly high in the same month last year due to Jubilee-related events.

David McCorquodale, KPMG’s head of retail, commented: “This is another respectable performance by UK retailers. Sales are moving in the right direction, albeit hard-earned and promotion driven”.

Visa’s UK expenditure index for June reflected the BRC’s findings, showing a second month-on-month increase for consumer spending in June. The index is based on data for the company’scards, which make transactions worth £1.9bn every quarter.