Shoppers send sales leaping

Defiant shoppers confounded expectations for a slump in consumer spending last month as official figures today revealed a surprise leap in retail sales.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that sales rose by 1.2 per cent between July and August - coming in complete contrast with forecasts for a drop of 0.4 per cent.

Clothing and footwear stores drove the hike in sales, said the ONS.

It comes after high street sales also raced ahead by an unexpected 0.8 per cent in July.