Heatwave fuels July sales

The British heatwave is sending shoppers to the high street. Sales of swimwear and summer fashions have seen their fastest growth since 2006, during last heatwave in the UK.

According to the British Retail Consortium, same-store sales were up 2.2 percent while online sales growth was 7.9 percent.

It was the third consecutive month of retail sales improvement after a fall in April when stores were hit by the freezing weather, the BRC said.

The rise was attributed to the "feel-good factor" fuelled by a string of sporting triumphs and the arrival of the royal baby, though deep discounting also helped bolster sales.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said it was a "very solid" sales performance, driven by the warm weather as well as deep discounts and offers. Clothing sales had been boosted by discounting and summer fashion buys, she added.

"While we know that the picture is still variable and the high street in particular continues to face considerable challenges, these positive results will be welcomed in town centres around the country that depend so much on retailers performing well," she said.

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, which compiled the figures, said: "July was a golden month for retail sales and marks a return to form for British retailers. Clothing was boosted by swimwear, dresses and blouses sales in womenswear, with popular menswear items including casual jerseys and shorts."

Childrenswear, however, did not perform so well after retailers who cleared their summer stocks suffered from low interest in their autumn ranges.

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