By Daniel Hunter
Data released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has revealed that UK retail sales values were up 1.4% on a like-for-like basis from June 2012, when they had increased 1.4% on the preceding year. On a total basis, sales were up 2.9%, against a 3.5% increase in June 2012.
Total sales growth of 2.9% is just ahead of the year-to-date average of 2.8% and better than the 12-month-average of 2.4%, confirming this year's pick-up. In real terms, growth was 2.3% over the last six months against 1.5% over the last twelve.
Clothing and Footwear were the best-performing categories, helped by a warmer June than last year.
Online sales were up 14.1% compared with June 2012, when they had risen by 12.1%. This is the best performance since July 2012, excluding Christmas.
Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: "Despite challenging economic conditions continuing, June saw another strong performance from the UK's retailers, with very respectable overall growth across the categories. At this halfway point in the year we are able to see that sales are well ahead of the previous six month period, confirming that the retail recovery is continuing.
"One of the best performing areas was fashion. As the weather warmed up, we saw a good reaction to the excellent promotions that are available at the moment, accompanied by continuing demand for value and essential items. The weather also helped DIY and gardening products record a good month, and we saw some of the purchases that may have been postponed during the cold weather earlier in the year begin to take place.
"Electrical and electronics promotions helped those categories perform well, although unsurprisingly we are seeing weak TV sales compared with last year when many people were upgrading their sets in order to watch the London Olympics. Finally in food, growth continues to be broadly in line with inflation, which is a good result considering that this period last year saw Jubilee celebrations across the country with an accompanying high demand for suitable party food products. With spirits and temperatures lifted following the weekend and further feelgood news expected later in the month, retailers will be hoping that July builds on this encouraging trend."
David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: "This is another respectable performance by UK retailers. Sales are moving in the right direction, albeit hard-earned and promotion driven. The statistics are all the more creditable as last year's sales included a Jubilee boost.
"Periods of sunshine helped to lift the gloom on the high street and retailers celebrated another month of rising sales. Sales of fashion and footwear particularly benefited from the change in seasons as shoppers refreshed their wardrobe and got ready to enjoy the warmer weather. These figures certainly underline the impact that weather can have on a retailer's performance.
"Retailers will hope that the arrival of a royal baby will deliver a feel good lift to sales this month, as consumers stock up on champagne and commemorative items. While this temporary uplift won't transform the fortunes of the UK retail sector, a mini memorabilia bonanza would still raise some much needed cash for retailers' coffers, putting them on a stronger footing as they restock stores with autumnal ranges."
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