LONDON – Retail spending in Britain rose by an unexpectedly robust 1.4 percent in July, the month after the U.K. voted to leave the European Union.
The Office for National Statistics says that the biggest increase in sales was in clothing, footwear and other non-food items.
Economists had been expecting a far more moderate month-on-month rise of 0.1 percent in July. The June 23 Brexit vote sent the pound plummeting against other currencies and injected uncertainty into the economy.
Analyst Howard Archer of IHS Global Insight said Thursday that warm weather after a cool early summer may have boosted clothing sales, and "there were also reports that the pound's weakness encouraged tourist visitors to the U.K. to buy expensive items such as jewelry and watches."