Five questions answered on the "retail revival"

Surprisingly, online sales have actually slowed.

New data released from the British Retail Consortium and Springboard has shown a rise in footfall at the country’s shopping locations. We answer five questions on this good news for the economy.

How much has footfall at shopping locations increased?

According to the data released last week, footfall at the country’s shopping hotspots is up 0.8 per cent in July, compared to year earlier. This is acceleration on the 0.1pc increase in June.

The increase in retail footfall was driven by sharp growth in London, the west Midlands, Northern Ireland, and Wales, with other parts of the country in decline.

Did the figures reveal any further other good news for the economy?

Yes. The amount of empty shops in country has also fallen from a record 11.9 per cent in April to 11.1 per cent in July.

What about online sales?

Surprisingly, online sales have actually slowed. They fell by 2 per cent in July compared to June, according to the IMRG Capgemini sales index.

However, year-on-year sales rose 9pc, but this is still the slowest growth since January 2010.

What have the experts said?

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has increased its forecast growth for 2014, from 2 per cent to 2.3 per cent.

John Cridland, director-general of the CBI, speaking to The Telegraph said: "The economy has started to gain momentum and confidence is picking up, but it’s still early days.

"We need to see a full-blown rebalancing of our economy, with stronger business investment and trade before we can call a sustainable recovery. We hope that will begin to emerge next year, as the eurozone starts growing again."

Is there any indication what the Office for National Statistics second quarter growth statistics, due later in the week, might reveal?

Investors are positive this week and think the UK economy could be boosted further after they are released.

Some economists even expect the Office for National Statistics to upgrade its estimate of Q2 growth from 0.6 per cent to 0.7 per cent.

New data released from the British Retail Consortium. Photograph: Getty Images

Heidi Vella is a features writer for Nridigital.com

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Why it's far too early to declare Ukip dead

The party could yet thrive if Brexit disappoints those who voted Leave.

"Nothing except a battle lost can be half as melancholy as a battle won," wrote the Duke of Wellington after Waterloo. Ukip can testify to this. Since achieving its founding aim - a British vote to leave the EU - the party has descended into a rolling crisis.

Theresa May's vow to pursue Brexit, and to achieve control of immigration, robbed Ukip of its political distinctiveness. But the party's greatest enemy has been itself. Its leader Paul Nuttall did not merely lose the Stoke by-election (despite the city recording the highest Leave vote), he self-destructed in the process. Contrary to his assertions, Nuttall did not achieve a PhD, was never a professional footballer and did not lose "close personal friends" at Hillsborough. Ukip's deputy Peter Whittle pleaded last weekend that voters needed more time to get to know Nuttall. No, the problem was that they got to know him all too well. A mere three months after becoming leader, Nuttall has endured a level of mockery from which far stronger men would struggle to recover (and he may soon be relieved of the task).

Since then, Ukip's millionaire sugar daddy Arron Banks has threatened to leave the party unless he is made chairman and Nigel Farage is awarded a new role (seemingly that of de facto leader). For good measure, Farage (a man who has failed seven times to enter parliament) has demanded that Ukip's only MP Douglas Carswell is expelled for the crime of failing to aid his knighthood bid. Not wanting to be outdone, Banks has vowed to stand against Carswell at the next election if the dissenter is not purged. Any suggestion that the party's bloodlust was sated by the flooring of Steve Woolfe and Diane James's 18-day leadership has been entirely dispelled.

For all this, it is too early to pronounce Ukip's death (as many have). Despite May's ascension and its myriad woes, it has maintained an average poll rating of 12 per cent this year. This is far from its 2014 zenith, when it polled as high as 25 per cent, but also far from irrelevancy. Incapable of winning Labour seats itself, Ukip could yet gift them to the Conservatives by attracting anti-Tory, anti-Corbyn voters (in marginals, the margins matter).

Though Theresa May appears invulnerable, Brexit could provide fertile political territory for Ukip. Those who voted Leave in the hope of a radical reduction in immigration will likely be dismayed if only a moderate fall results. Cabinet ministers who boasted during the referendum of their desire to reduce immigration have already been forced to concede that newcomers will be required to fill vacancies for years to come. Ukip will be the natural vehicle for those aggrieved by Brexit "betrayal". Some Leave voters are already dismayed by the slowness of the process (questioning why withdrawal wasn't triggered immediately) and will revolt at the "transitional period" and budget contributions now regarded as inevitable.

The declarations of Ukip's death by both conservatives and liberals have all the hallmarks of wishful thinking. Even if the party collapses in its present form, something comparable to it would emerge. Indeed, the complacency of its opponents could provide the very conditions it needs to thrive.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.