Heatwave and summer sales push retail up

highstreet South endJuly retail sales in Britain rose at their fastest pace since January, thanks to summer shopping and the unseasonal heatwave.

According to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), retail sales hit their six-month high in July. Retailers recorded strong demand for clothing, footwear and just anything related to tropical temperatures.

The survey found that department stores saw their biggest surge in three decades, probably thanks to air conditioning. On the whole 18 percent of retailers reported above average sales, but 37 percent said they missed their average.

However, 34 percent of retailers placed more orders with suppliers than they did a year ago, while 27 percent placed fewer orders.

Looking forward, sales volumes are expected to rise again in August, with 39 percent of firms expecting an increase versus 29 percent predicting a fall.

Further, 37 percent of wholesalers reported sales volumes up on last year, while just 13 percent said they were down.

The car industry seems to have had its best month in over a decade. None of the surveyed motor traders reported their sales were down, while 64 percent said sales volumes are up. July saw the strongest sales growth since 2002 and expectations of sales growth in the year to August were at their highest since August 1988.