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UK retail sales stifled by rain and overhyped Jubilee weekend

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Bad weather and lack-lustre Jubilee weekend dampened retail sales in June, according to figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Retail sales increased by 0.1% last month, much lower than ONS’s expectation of a 0.6% rise.

Food sales plummeted 0.7% compared with June last year, with retailers blaming the rain for the fall.

Clothing sales rose by 2.5% last month, economists attributed the rise to shop owners starting summer sales early.

Chris Williamson, economist at Markit, told The Guardian: “Many forecasters, including the Bank of England, had been relying on consumer spending to rise this year as inflation falls (reducing the squeeze on family incomes). However, while inflation is falling to plan, the hoped-for increase is spending is clearly not materialising.”

Some economists believe the Olympics just might do the trick to boost sales. “Retailers will be very much hoping that the London Olympics will provide a significant lift to their sales over the coming weeks as people buy related merchandise and souvenirs, and also purchase extra drink and food to enjoy watching the Games. The Olympic Games may also lead to more people upgrading their televisions,” said Howard Archer, chief economist, IHS Global Insight.

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