World Cup dents U.K. retail sales in June

LONDON–U.K. retail sales declined on the month in June, as Britons chose to watch the soccer World Cup rather than shop.

Sales in June declined 0.5% compared with May, dragged lower by fall in sales of clothing and footwear, the Office for National Statistics said Thursday. Retailers blamed the tournament, in which England reached the semi-final for the first time in almost 30 years.

Food stores had a better month, with sales rising 0.1% compared with May, reflecting purchases of barbecue goods during a heat wave.

Despite the decline last month, sales over the three months through June grew 2.1%, the strongest three-month period since early 2015.

The figures suggest the economy accelerated in the second quarter after a slow start to the year. The Bank of England is expected to lift its benchmark interest rate as soon as next month to bring annual inflation back to its 2% goal.

Write to Jason Douglas at [email protected] and David Hodari at [email protected]

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