UK retail sales rally in May
1.4% increase in total sales volume exceeds analysts’ forecasts
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) retail sales report issued today (21 June) indicates that UK retail sales volumes in the UK were up by 1.4% in May, compared to April. April had been a poor month, with sales volumes falling 2.3% because of bad weather and the unfavourable comparatives caused by panic buying of petrol in March. These latest figures have been welcomed, with one analyst saying they indicate “decent growth” for UK retail.
At 1.4%, the May increase in volume exceeded the forecast rise of 1.2%, and year-on-year, this May was up 2.4% compared to the same month last year. In value terms, value was up 1% on the month and 3.3% year-on-year.
Discounting, as in recent months, was again an important factor driving volume sales, and electricals was one of the sectors where discounting was again strongly prevalent. However, the figures are strong enough to have sparked some cautious optimism, and are in line with Argos’ and Dixons’ figures just released (se earlier reports on this website).
The average weekly value for Internet sales, said the ONS, is estimated at £510.9 million meaning that the proportion of retail sales (excluding automotive fuel) that are made via the Internet now stands at 8.8 per cent.