Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Store sales drive retail growth

Department store discounts drove another rise in retail sales volumes in June, boosting hopes for overall growth, official figures due out next week have shown.

The 0.2% month-on-month increase builds on a 2.1% rise in May – the first run of back-to-back growth in a year – said the Office for National Statistics.

It translates to growth in the sector of 0.9% over the second quarter, a rise that will push up overall GDP by 0.1%. The increase should contribute to the expected second three-month period of GDP growth for the economy. The figures are due on July 25.

Supermarkets were hit as food sales volumes fell by 0.1% in June, while non-food stores grew 0.6%.

The largest contribution came from department stores, which saw a 3% increase, statisticians said it was driven by discounting and clearance sales.

There was also a 0.6% rise in household goods stores although the textile, clothing and footwear sector slumped by 0.3%.

The figures are closely watched because the retail industry accounts for 5.7% of the economy.