May sales rise with temperatures

Official retail figures released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), confirm that sales growth was significantly stronger in May than April, helped by the return of summer weather later in the month and the run-up to the Diamond Jubilee.

Excluding fuel, the ONS numbers show the total value of sales (not seasonally adjusted) was up 3.8% in May compared with May 2011. In April there was zero growth.

Figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) published two weeks ago showed year-on-year growth of 3.4% for May 2012.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “The end of weeks of relentless rain and the build-up to the Jubilee gave a useful boost in May. But retailers tell us the effect was largely confined to the final week of the month when the sun came out and so did shoppers.

“Retail competition has helped push inflation down to a two-and-a-half-year low, which is a good sign that pressures on household budgets are easing. But incomes are still dropping in real terms and customers’ underlying lack of spending power remains a big problem.”

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