Retail sales unaffected by Brexit mainly due to Summer sunshine

Retail sales were up in July despite Britain's decision to leave the European Union. Credit: Lauren Hurley / PA Wire

Retail sales figures were unexpectedly up in July, despite Britain's decision to leave the European Union, which was predicted to cause a slump.

Total retail sales were up 1.9% in July compared with a year ago, while like-for-like sales rose 1.1% over the period, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC)-KPMG survey.

The report said the rise was mainly due to discounts and summer sunshine which kept shoppers spending last month despite fears of a post-referendum slowdown.

Retailers confounded expectations and boosted sales thanks to a "heavy month of promotions", while warmer weather in July saw shoppers fork out on picnics and barbecues, helping food sales rise 0.8% between May and July.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said UK households were still happy to spend because little had changed materially following Britain's decision to ditch the European Union.

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said the warmer weather helped blow away some of the post-referendum blues.

Separate data from Barclaycard showed consumer spending rose 2.6% to the end of last month, down from a 3.6% rise between May and June.

Despite the fall, the study revealed that shoppers continued to spend strongly on restaurants, pubs and cinemas following Britain's vote to leave the EU.