UK retail surges on World Cup, but outlook austere

Forecasts still bleak despite encouraging June figures.

Retail sales in the UK rose higher than expected in June due to the football World Cup, but economists say the rest of the year looks bleak as businesses struggle, and the consequences of the government's austerity measures take effect.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports June sales volumes as having risen faster than expected, at 0.7 per cent. It also revised the sales increase in May from 0.6 to 0.8 per cent.

Besides an increase in television sales, household goods stores and department stores are reported to be the biggest contributors to the rise, with sales growth of 1.6 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively.

However, leading economists such as David Kern of the British Chambers of Commerce note that there is no room for complacency as risks of an economic setback remain serious, reports The Independent.

Britain faces the greatest constriction on household budgets since the mid-1970s, with around £3,000 a year reduced from the purchasing power of households by 2014, adds the report, citing analysts at Capital Economics.