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August 19, 2010    

ONS report rise in retail sales in July

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by Kay Murchie

The economy received a boost today after UK retail sales grew much faster than expected in July.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), retail sales during the month grew 1.1% on the month - beating analysts forecasts of 0.4%.

This represented the highest month-on-month growth since February.

On an annual basis, sales were 1.3% higher - again, better than the 0.6% expected by analysts.

Meanwhile, the ONS said a broad mix of retailers experienced strong growth, including sports equipment and jewellery shops.

However, department stores and household goods sales were flat.

Commenting on today’s figures, Vicky Redwod from Capital Economics, said: “It doesn’t look for now like the slowdown emerging in the rest of the economy has spread to the High Street yet.”

However, David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, warned “there is no room for complacency” as the tough austerity measures introduced by the Government have yet to take effect.

In other economical news today, the ONS revealed public sector borrowing totalled £3.8 billion in July.

Not only was the figure was much less than the £5.25 billion expected by analysts, it is also well below the £6.1 billion borrowed in July 2009.

The improved picture was attributed to exceptionally strong growth in receipts usually experienced in July.

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