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U.K. Retail Sales Rose in July on Olympic Food Boost, BRC Says

U.K. retail sales rose in July as the start of the Olympics at the end of the month helped to boost food and drink sales, the British Retail Consortium said.

Sales at stores open at least 12 months, measured by value, rose 0.1 percent from a year earlier, the London-based trade group said in an e-mailed report today. It added that sales of big-ticket items continued to struggle.

With the recession deepening in the second quarter, officials are looking to the London Olympic Games that started on July 27 to provide a boost to the economy. GfK NOP Ltd. said July 31 that its gauge of consumer confidence was unchanged last month at minus 29.

“There was a boost for food retailers toward the end of the month as the sunshine came out and shoppers started getting in party food and drink ahead of the Olympics, but it wasn’t a significant help,” BRC Director General Stephen Robertson said. “With only the opening couple of days of the Olympic Games covered by these statistics we’ll have to wait a while to assess the overall impact on retail sales.”

Including stores open less than 12 months, the value of retail sales rose 2 percent in July from a year earlier, according to the BRC. In the three months through July, food sales increased 0.9 percent from a year earlier on a like-for-like basis, while non-food sales rose 1 percent.

-- Editors: Fergal O’Brien, Craig Stirling

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