Amazon Prime Day boosts British retail sales in July

Amazon’s impact on the UK economy was laid bare Thursday. The online retailer’s annual discounting day was credited with a surprisingly strong gain for British retail sales in July.

British retail sales in July grew 3.3% compared to a year ago, according to data released Thursday. Economists polled by FactSet expected a 2.6% rise.

The Office for National Statistics said what it calls non-store retailing surged 6.9%, and was the biggest driver of both the amount spent and quantity.

Samuel Tombs, chief U.K. economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said the results show the U.K. consumer isn’t fazed by the prospect of a disorderly exit from the European Union.

“Granted, Amazon’s Prime Day, which the retailer has run every July since 2015, probably was chiefly responsible for the colossal 6.9% month-to-month rise in non-store sales, which made a 0.7 percentage point contribution to growth in total sales,” Tombs said in a note to clients. “Sales volumes likely will fall back in August, given that some shoppers probably brought forward planned purchases to take advantage of the temporary discounts offered by Amazon AMZN, -3.36% . Nonetheless, we still think that consumers can be relied upon to steady the ship.”

Shoppers didn’t only purchase items online — beleaguered department stores saw their first rise of the year, according to the ONS data.

The British pound was stronger against both the U.S. dollar GBPUSD, +0.4645%  and the euro GBPEUR, +0.3049%  on Thursday.

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