Rain sends Swedes to the shops

Swedes have been making the most of this summer's rain to take to the shops like never before.

Retail sales in July rose by 9.4 percent compared with the same month last year, when measured in fixed prices, according to Statistics Sweden (SCB) and the Swedish Retail Institute (HUI).

“Retail sales continue to grow at a rate rarely seen before. Potential growth in household consumption is currently judged to be enormous,” wrote HUI in a statement.

Retail sales grew more than 7 percent between January and July, compared with the same period last year. The figures have led HUI to conclude that the increase in Sweden’s retail sales for the year are likely to be as big as last year’s 7 percent.

Strong growth, tax cuts, lower unemployment and disappointing summer weather all contributed to the figures, HUI reports.

“This means that when HUI releases its next prognosis it will in all likelihood have to further increase is predictions for retail sales growth in 2007,” wrote HUI.

Sales of expensive and luxury goods rose by 15.4 percent in July. Furniture and electronic sales rose by 20 percent. Grocery sales were up 1.7 percent.