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Hopes for recovery

Retail sales rise more strongly than expected

high street shopping at Easter

Shoppers have been buying again

Retail sales across the UK grew more strongly than expected in June, raising hopes of an early return to growth.

Non-essential stores in England were allowed to reopen to the public in the middle of the month, followed by Scotland.

Shops saw sales in June grow by 13.9% compared to May, above the average 8% growth forecast in a Reuters poll of economists.

Compared with June last year, sales were down 1.6%.

Former Bank of England policymaker Andrew Sentance said this is the most positive sign of recovery seen since the Covid-19 outbreak.

He tweeted: “A V-shaped rebound in UK retail sales in June. But can the recovery be sustained or is it just pent-up demand?”

Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY ITEM Club, was more cautious about an upturn.  “There is uncertainty as to just how willing consumers will be to spend over the coming months. Indeed, persistent consumer caution is seen as a significant risk that could limit the UK recovery,” he said.

“While there does seem to have been some pick-up in consumer spending in July, it also appears that consumers are cautious amid heightened job insecurity.”

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