UK retail sales surged by a bigger than expected 1.5% in July, backed by Britain’s shoppers who have defied any economic uncertainty in the immediate effect of EU referendum, according to the Office of National Statistics.
The retail sales rebounded from its previous fall of 0.9% in June and were surprisingly stronger than the 0.2% increase predicted by the economists.
The jump in retail sales volume was driven by the warm weather and the plunge in pound that boosted tourist spending. Sales of watches and jewelry were up by 16.6%, the biggest rise in nearly two years.
British pound hit its two-week high as it spiked against the dollar following the data release, rising by as much as 1.225 to close at $1.3172, its highest level since August 5.
US stocks finished slightly higher on Thursday as Brent oil price closed above $50 a barrel and Walmart settled to a 14-month high.
The Brent crude LCOc1 touched above $50 for the first time in six weeks, ahead of a possible output freeze from major producers, prompted the energy index .SPNY to jump 1.8%.
Walmart, on the other hand, registered its 14-month high of $74.30, adding 1.9%, after the retailer showed a better-than-expected quarterly profit.
The S&P 500 .SPX rose 4.8 points, or 0.22 percent to close at 2 187.02. The benchmark S&P index is 7% up since Dec 31 last year.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI added 23.76 points, or 0.13%, to finish 18 597.7 while NASDAQ Composite .IXIC rose 11.49 points, or 0.22%, to settle at 5240.15.