UK retail sales smash forecasts thanks to good weather and Royal Wedding - business live

All the day’s economic and financial news, including the ECB’s latest policy meeting and UK retail sales figures Latest: UK retail spending jumped last month Hot weather and wedding fever boost sales Earlier: Introduction: European Central Bank decision today Will ECB call time on its QE programme? Bond-buying scheme runs out in September Last night, US interest rates hiked again 10.56am BST Jacob Nell , Morgan Stanley’s chief UK economist, cautions that “idiosyncratic factors” - including sunny weather and the Royal Wedding - flattered UK retail sales last month. But still, the growth was broad-based: 10.42am BST The jump in retail sales last month is encouraging , but it won’t get Britain’s high street out of trouble. So argues Ben Brettell, senior economist at Hargreaves Lansdown , who points to the relentless advance of internet shopping: Despite today’s positive report from the ONS, news from individual companies continues to paint a somewhat gloomy picture for the UK’s bricks-and-mortar retailers. House of Fraser and Poundworld are the latest names to run into trouble. With the most recent set of numbers from online fashion retailer showing a 49% jump in UK sales, it’s not difficult to work out where those high street customers have been going. Continue reading...

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