UK retail sales dipped by 0.2% in August, but there are no signs consumer confidence has suffered as a result of the EU referendum, the Office of National Statistics has said.

Its latest retail stats, released today, suggested continued “solid growth” in the retail sector, the ONS said, even though sales were down slightly following a particularly strong performance in July. On a year-on-year basis, retail volume sales were up 6.2% compared with August 2015, while value was up 4.1%, reaching £28.6bn for this August.

“The figures do not suggest any major fall in post-referendum consumer confidence”

Mel Richard, ONS head of retail sales

Food retailers made a particularly strong contribution to growth, with volume sales up 5.9% year on year and up 3.7% in value terms.

”As the main contributor to the increase in sales volumes, food sales were the standout performer in August,” said David McCorquodale, UK head of retail at KPMG. ”The Rio Olympics were likely to have put picnics on the menu, while less favourable exchange rates encouraged staycations, also benefiting the grocers.”

Online sales across all retailers were up 18.5% in value terms compared against last August and up 0.4% on last month. Online food sales were up 10.3% year on year. 

Prices, meanwhile, continued to be on a downward trend, falling 1.9% year on year across all retail sectors, making this the 26th consecutive month of year-on-year price falls. Average prices in food retailers were down 2%, according to ONS estimates.

Following the EU referendum in June, there had been fears consumer confidence could be hit as a result of uncertainty over the future of the UK’s relationship with Europe. But the ONS said so far there was little to suggest consumer trends were changing.

“Food sales were the standout performer in August”

David McCorquodale, KPMG

“Despite the small fall after July’s sharp increase, the underlying pattern in the retail sector remains one of solid growth,” said ONS head of retail sales Mel Richard. “There was some variation between different sectors but overall the figures do not suggest any major fall in post-referendum consumer confidence.”