UK retail slipped last month to weakest performance since shops reopened in April

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ONS says retail sales volumes dropped by 2.5% between June and July 2021

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UK retail slipped last month to the weakest performances since shops reopened in April after lockdown restrictions, according to official figures.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said retail sales volumes dropped by 2.5% between June and July 2021 but remain significantly ahead of pre-pandemic levels.

It said this was partly driven by a decline in food store sales which were impacted by customers returning to hospitality venues and the end of the Euro 2020 football tournament.

Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the ONS, said: “Following the Euro 2020 related boost in June, retail sales fell in July to their lowest level since shops reopened in April, but still remain well above pre-pandemic levels.

“Food sales fell back as further lifting of hospitality restrictions meant consumers had more opportunities to spend outside retail.

“Heavy rainfall at the start of July hit fuel sales, which dipped for the first time since February.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak has said:

“Our recovery from the pandemic is well underway, boosted by the huge amount of support Government has provided. But the last 18 months have had a huge impact on our economy and public finances, and many risks remain. We’re committed to keeping the public finances on a sustainable footing, which is why at the Budget in March I set out the steps we are taking to keep debt under control in the years to come”