Retail sales increased in June as millions stayed at home to watch the Euro 2020 football tournament.
It followed a dip in May when would-be shoppers returned to restaurants after the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.
Sales rose by 0.5 per cent, driven by the popularity of food shops, where demand soared by 4.2 per cent.
“Feedback from some retailers suggested that sales were positively boosted in June by the start of the Euro 2020 football championship,” the Office for National Statistics said.
Earlier this month, Sainsbury’s revealed that football-fuelled shopping and delivery driver shortfalls had led to shortages of stock.
Chief executive Simon Roberts admitted it had run low on certain beers and soft drinks since the tournament began.
On the day of England’s match against Ukraine, the Big 4 grocer sold 17 packs of beer every second.
Although the 0.5 per cent sales growth beat forecasts of a small decline, some commentators struck a cautious note.
“Headline growth masks declines in other non-food categories,” PwC consumer expert Lisa Hooker warned.
She noted that household goods had suffered “their first non-lockdown driven decline since the start of the pandemic”.
Demand for non-food stores dipped by 1.7 per cent.
Online revenues plunged by 4.7 per cent to their lowest level since the start of lockdown.
Retail sales are likely to fall in July as the “pingdemic” pushes staff into quarantine and forces shop closures.
Iceland has reportedly closed stores for the first time in its history, while one in five Marks and Spencer’s employees are self-isolating.
Around 600,000 people were told to quarantine last week, marking a weekly rise of 17 per cent.
with PA Wires