Sales on UK high street at highest level for 3 years

28 July, 2010

Retail sales reached their highest since before the current downturn, with the World Cup, warm weather and discounting seen as helping figures to rise.

According to the CBI, 51% of retail businesses said sales had risen in July, compared with 18% reporting sales down. This balance of 33% compares favourably with an overall -5% pattern in June, and is the highest since April 2007.

Economists had forecast a balance of just 3%, with retailers expecting 11%. The most significant growth came in grocery, clothing and footwear.

The fact that sales of food, drink and televisions rose markedly during the period indicates that the World Cup had a significant effect on growth.

Retailers are the most optimistic they have been for six years about trading prospects. A balance of 45% are expecting to reach higher sales volumes in August.

However, they were warned against being over-optimistic. Vicky Redwood, of Capital Economics said: "We remain sure that the fiscal squeeze will slow the economic recovery eventually."

>> May food sales up: Office for National Statistics

>> Beef sales rise defies poor New Year retail market

>> Short-lived sales boost

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