11222017

Wet weather hurts clothing sales in June

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UK retail sales have fallen in June as clothing sales were hit by the wet weather, official figures show.

High Street spending fell by 0.9% last month compared with May, the sharpest drop for six months, the Office for National Statistics said.

It added that that retailers had not yet reported any anecdotal evidence from the UK’s vote to leave the EU.

But analysts expect spending to slow in the months ahead as consumer confidence is hit by the result of the referendum.

Compared with a year ago, retail sales were up by 4.3%.

Average prices in stores, including petrol stations, fell by 2.5% over the year, the release also shows.

Department stores sales were lifted by the Euro 2016 football tournament and the Queen’s 90th birthday, but the large amount of rainfall last month hit fashion stores.

“June’s sharp decline in retail sales marks the beginning of a much weaker period of consumer spending,” said Samuel Tombs from Pantheon Economics.

“The combination of higher prices, job cuts and the Chancellor’s decision not to immediately alter the fiscal plans likely will bring the recovery in consumer spending to its knees,” he added.

Scott Bowman from Capital Economics added that “the poor base set by the June result means that the retail sector will play its part in our expectation that GDP growth will fall to around zero” in the third quarter.

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