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London retail sales rise 11.6% in May

Retail sales in London improved in May, rising 11.6% on a like-for-like basis as tourists came back to the capital following the easing of disruption caused by the volcanic ash cloud.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC)-KPMG London Retail Sales Monitor found that footfall picked up in May after a year-on-year decline in April with promotional events and discounts tempting shoppers.

The BRC said clothing sales were boosted by sunny weather.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “This is a healthier performance. London retail sales bounced back sharply after April’s slowdown.

“The return of overseas visitors, after the previous month’s flight disruption, along with improving consumer confidence and sunnier weather, produced the strongest London sales growth since December.”

He added: “There were more tourists and, on average, each spent more. Consumer confidence was less negative in the capital than in previous months and than the rest of the UK. Widespread discounts and promotions encouraged spending, especially when they coincided with sunnier weather. The comparison with weak results last year also helped.”

The weakness of the pound has also continued to draw overseas visitors particularly from western Europe, China and the Middle East.

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