Retail sales volumes increased by 3.6% in July when compared with June, according to new data from the ONS.
The figure is also 3% above pre-pandemic levels in February 2020. During the month the volume of food store sales and non-store retailing remained at high sales levels, despite monthly contractions in these sectors at negative 3.1% and 2.1% respectively.
The ONS said clothing store sales were the worst hit during the pandemic and volume sales in July remained 25.7% lower than February, even with a July 2020 monthly increase of 11.9% in this sector.
Online retail sales also fell by 7% during the period when compared with June, but the strong growth experienced over the pandemic has meant that sales are still 50.4% higher than February’s pre-pandemic levels.
The ONS said: “When compared with the previous three months, a stronger rate of growth is seen in the three months to July, at 5.1% and 6.1% for value and volume sales respectively. This was following eight consecutive months of decline in the three-month on three-month growth rate.
“The only measure to show a decline is the three months to July when compared with the same three months a year earlier, with a fall of 5.3% for value sales and a fall of 4.1% for volume sales.”