Hot weather helps UK retail sales grow at fastest pace in nine months - CBI

FILE PHOTO: Shoppers browse in an Aldi store in London, Britain, February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Summers

LONDON (Reuters) - - Hot weather helped British retail sales growth surge during the first half of this month, adding to signs that consumers are shrugging off a lacklustre start to 2018 a survey by the Confederation of British Industry showed on Wednesday.

The CBI distributive trades survey’s retail sales balance jumped to a nine-month high of +32 in June from May’s reading of +11, above all forecasts in a Reuters poll of economists, who on average had expected unchanged growth.

Retailers’ expected sales balance for July was steady at +18 and the volume of orders placed with suppliers rose at its fastest rate since November at +20.

“Higher-than-average temperatures seem to have had a positive impact on shoppers,” CBI economist Anna Leach said.

The CBI said the rise in sales volumes was broad-based, with online sales, durable goods and department stores doing particularly well, though clothing stores and furniture shops reported a fall in sales.

British retail sales volumes recorded their biggest increase in more than a year last month, according to official data, after unusually warm weather and royal wedding celebrations boosted spending at supermarkets and other stores.

However underlying conditions for the sector remained challenging, Leach said, due to slow wage growth and the disruptive effect of online shopping.

Reporting by David Milliken, editing by Paul Sandle