UK retail sales bounced back in May with transaction volumes increasing by 2.8% on a like-for-like basis, compared with a 0.2% decrease in May 2017.
According to figures from the BRC, on a total basis, UK retail sales increased 4.1% in May compared to an increase of 0.2% the previous year. This is above the 3-month and 12-month averages, of 1.2% and 1.5% respectively, and the highest increase since January 2014, when not including Easter distortions.
However, the figures show that food continued to outperform non-food sales. Over the three-months to May, non-food retail sales decreased 1.4% on a like-for-like basis and 0.5% on a total basis. This was below the 12-month total average decrease of 0.2%. But on a monthly basis, this was the best performance since January 2016, excluding Easter distortions.
Online sales of non-food products grew 11.9% in May, against a comparable growth of 4.3% in May 2017.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive at the BRC, said: ”Retail sales in May saw their highest growth since January 2014 as better weather and the bank holiday effect led shoppers to buy from garden furniture and summer fashion ranges; recovering some of the ground lost in April.”
Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, added: “May provided a much needed uplift to retail performance delivering a respectable 4.1% growth. Two bank holiday weekends, a royal wedding and of course sunnier spells will have been the main drivers behind the apparent rebound.
“While the month’s figures may paint a rosier picture, there is no room for complacency. The market is increasingly being split into winners and losers, with a number of legacy players continuing to face extremely challenging conditions.”