Retail sales recorded their strongest growth in 18 months in June, excluding Easter distortions, according to the British Retail Consortium.

  • Retail sales increased 1.8%
  • Food sales rose for seventh month in a row
  • Toys and baby equipment was the best performing category

UK retail sales increased 1.8% on a like-for-like basis compared with the same month last year, when they decreased 0.8% year on year.

Food sales grew for the seventh month in a row, while fashion sales were also up after several retailers launched summer Sales earlier this year.

Toys and baby equipment was the best performing category, helped by outdoor toys, particularly in the last week of the month. Furniture also performed particularly well during June.

Consumer confidence

BRC director-general Helen Dickinson said: “We saw welcome signs of growing consumer confidence, with people more willing to trade up and spend a bit more on big-ticket purchases, likely boosted by the growth in the supply of credit and other factors such as low inflation and rising real incomes.

“Some of the measures outlined by the Chancellor in last week’s budget are likely to help boost consumer confidence even further, with measures like the continued freeze in fuel duty and the increased personal tax allowance ensuring consumers have more money in their pockets to spend.”

KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale said: “Cooler May weather had dampened fashion sales; the glorious sunshine and some significant promotional activity this month lured consumers into a rush to update summer wardrobes.

“The grocers continued to fight to make headway against a deflationary tide. Moving into July, many eyes will be trained on sector share prices after the market reacted strongly to a number of surprise announcements, particularly around the living wage, in the Chancellor’s summer Budget.”