British retail sales inch upwards as fuel decreases

British retail sales rose less than expected in July, hit by a fall in the sales of car fuels, data showed yesterday.

Retail sales volumes inched up 0.1% on the month to show 4.2% growth on the year.

Economists had expected retail sales to rise 0.4% and for sales to be up 4.4% compared with July last year.

Excluding fuel, sales rose 0.4% on the month and 4.3% compared to a year ago, as expected. 

A 2.6% fall in car fuel sales was partly offset by a 3.6% rise in the sales of household goods.

The UK said the sales of household electrical appliances and furniture rose strongly on the month, probably reflecting a pick-up in Britain’s housing market.

Retail sales suffered an unexpected dip in June as consumers bought fewer household goods.

Britain’s economy, which slowed in the first three months of 2015, relies heavily on consumer demand for growth.

A pick-up in wage growth this year and near-zero inflation have helped to restore some of the spending power lost in the years after the financial crisis.

A recent rise in the value of sterling and a renewed plunge in global oil prices have further helped consumers, but Bank of England officials say they are increasingly looking at domestic price pressures to assess the timing of the first rate increase in more than seven years. 


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