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UK retail sales rise 1.4% in May

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed that retail sales volumes increased by 1.4% in May, following a revised 2.4% slump in April. On a year-on-year basis, sales volumes were up 2.4% in May.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

UK retail sales rise 1.4% in May

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics showed that retail sales volumes increased by 1.4% in May, following a revised 2.4% slump in April. On a year-on-year basis, sales volumes were up 2.4% in May.

Sales of clothing and shoes rose 3.4% from the previous month while household good sales increased by 0.7%. Fuel sales surged 6.2% as March's threatened fuel strike impacted sales.

Food sales grew just 0.2% in May but the figures did not include sales in the final run-up to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations as the survey period ended on 26 May.

Non-store retailing volumes, including online sales, increased 1.5% on the month while department stores saw volume growth of 0.8% on the month and 11.3% when compared with May 2011.

Consumers spent £26.4 billion in May compared with £26 billion in the previous month.

Commenting on the figures, David McCorquodale, European Head of Retail at KPMG said: "A combination of summer sun and heavy discounting saw shoppers return to the high street and the tills ring once again.  Value for money remains at the forefront of the consumer’s agenda, who will only part with their hard earned cash if the price is right.

"But slashing prices means retailers pay a heavy price in profitability.  Some will soon need to make hard decisions about how long they can continue to pursue prolonged discounting without damaging the long term health of their business.

"While May’s sales provided a ray of hope for beleaguered retailers, the British weather soon intervened to put a dampener on proceedings. Only time will tell if June’s torrential downpours dampened the Jubilee spirit and washed away much needed sales."

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