Retail sales confounded City predictions of a further fall in the volume of goods sold to stage a surprise 0.8 per cent rise during July. The modest but unexpected revival came after a sharper than previously estimated 4.3% plunge in June and despite an average 1.6% rise in prices in July, the steepest increase for ten years. The surprisingly strong official figures caused confusion about the true state of consumer demand, conflicting as they did with recent and much weaker survey data.

Financial Times, The Times, The Independent