LONDON, Aug 19 (Reuters) – British shoppers unexpectedly bought more last month, partly due to online sales promotions, after recent weakness in the face of the highest inflation in more than 40 years, official figures showed on Friday.
Retail sales volumes, adjusted for inflation and the time of year, rose by 0.3% on the month in July but were 3.4% lower than a year earlier, the Office for National Statistics said.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a 0.2% monthly drop in sales volumes and a 3.3% annual fall.
Excluding fuel purchases, sales were up 0.4% on the month and down 3.0% on the year, also stronger than economists’ forecasts.
Consumer price inflation jumped to an annual rate of 10.1% in July, its highest since 1982, from 9.4% in June, driven by an increase in food prices on top of previous sharp rises in household energy bills.
(Reporting by David Milliken; editing by William Schomberg)