Heatwave boosts the economy as households splash out on food and drink
Britain’s economy has been boosted by a barbecue summer as households enjoying the heatwave splash out on food and drink, official figures revealed.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) yesterday said retail sales rose by 2.1 per cent in the second quarter, the best performance since the first quarter of 2004.
The spending splurge, driven by the biggest rise in food store sales for 17 years, suggested the economy has bounced back from a slow start to the year.
Shoppers have been splashing out ore on food and drink as Britain’s barbecue summer continues
Rhian Murphy, senior statistician at the ONS, said: ‘Retail sales grew strongly across the three months to June as the warm weather encouraged shoppers to buy food and drink for their barbecues.
‘However, in June sales fell back slightly, with continued growth in food sales offset by declining spending in many other shops, as consumers stayed away from stores and instead enjoyed the World Cup and the heatwave.’
Ruth Gregory, senior UK economist at Capital Economics, said: ‘The big rise in retail sales volumes in the second quarter has provided yet more evidence that a consumer revival is now under way.’
But others suggested the slide in sales in June and lower than expected inflation figures this week could persuade the Bank of England to leave interest rates unchanged next month.
It has long been assumed the Bank would raise them to 0.75 per cent, having lifted them from 0.25 per cent to 0.5 per cent in November.