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ONS: UK retail sales post modest rise in June

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by Kay Mitchell

Early summer sales on the High Street have led to a modest rise in retail sales, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said today.

According to the ONS, like-for-like sales excluding petrol rose 0.8% in May, while they were 0.2% higher on an annual basis due to heavy discounting.

The figures were broadly in line with expectations.

The monthly increase was attributed to strong sales at household-goods stores, where sales were up 2.6% – this was primarily due to “big discounting” in furniture stores.

However, food sales fell 0.2% on a monthly basis but sales of clothing rose 0.6%.

Analysts say consumer spending is likely to remain under pressure in the face of higher inflation, rising unemployment and slow wage growth.

In other retail news today, sales were down at DIY chain B&Q and trade tools seller Screwfix as both companies reported “challenging” trading conditions.

The figures come shortly after well-known retailers, including Habitat, Jane Norman and TJ Hughes, have been forced into administration.

Furthermore, Mothercare, Thorntons and HMV all announced store closures last month.

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News posted: July 21, 2011

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