June's retail growth was the highest in 18 months, according to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor. Furniture posted another strong performance, ranking second of all categories. GfK’s Climate for Major Purchases Index increased from 2 in May to 16 in June, its highest level since January 2006.

UK retail sales increased 1.8% on a like-for-like basis from June 2014, when they had decreased 0.8% on the preceding year. On a total basis, sales were up 2.9%, against a 0.6% rise in June 2014. This is the strongest growth since January 2014, excluding Easter distortions, and compares with a 12-month average of 1.6%. Adjusted for the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index deflation, total growth was 4.2%.

Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 17.6% in June versus a year earlier, when they had grown 10.6%. The Non-Food online penetration rate was 18.4%, up from 16.9% in June 2014.

Helen Dickinson, director general, British Retail Consortium, says: “The retail industry performed strongly last month, experiencing the best overall sales growth in 18 months, excluding Easter distortions, albeit on the back of a weak June last year. Food sales grew for the seventh month in a row, while June also brought with it a boost for the non-food categories, with furniture doing particularly well. Fashion sales were also up, but this was likely helped by several retailers entering summer sales a little earlier this year. The last week of June ended the month on a high note, with seasonal items like outdoor toys in high demand.

“We saw welcome signs of growing consumer confidence, with people more willing to trade-up and spend a bit more on big-ticket purchases, likely boosted by the growth in the supply of credit and other factors such as low inflation and rising real incomes. Some of the measures outlined by the Chancellor in last week’s budget are likely to help boost consumer confidence even further, with measures like the continued freeze in fuel duty and the increased personal tax allowance ensuring consumers have more money in their pockets to spend. We also welcome the Chancellor’s focus on increasing productivity. This is of crucial importance to enhancing retailers’ ability to continue to serve their customers better.”