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Retail sales rise in July boosting confidence


June retail sales were also better than expected, the ONS said.

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Retail sales volumes rose more than expected in July, according to the latest official data on Thursday, offering the government a glimmer of hope amid the deepening double dip.

Sales were also stronger than initially thought in June too, the data from the Office for National Statistics showed, raising confidence that consumer spending will help lift the economy out of its second recession in four years.

Retail sales volumes rose 0.3 percent on the month to give an annual increase of 2.8 percent - compared with economists' forecasts for a monthly fall of 0.1 percent, the ONS said on Thursday.

The economy has been shrinking since late 2011 according to official data, and the Bank of England launched a new round of monetary stimulus early last month, while the government is trying to get credit flowing to businesses and households.

The neighbouring euro zone debt crisis and the government's austerity measures have been weighing on the UK economy, and many economists think it will contract in the full year.

Government bonds fell and the pound hit a session high against the dollar and the euro after the release.

The ONS revised sales growth in June to 0.8 percent from a previously reported rise of 0.1 percent, reducing the overall decline in retail sales in the second quarter to just 0.3 percent versus the previous three months.

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