Warmer weather lifts retail sales

UK retailers had a better month in May, thanks to an improvement in the weather following heavy rain in April.

Data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on Friday showed that retail sales rose by 2.9% as warm weather and deals encouraged shoppers to return to high streets.

It followed a decline the previous month, when rainfall was recorded at 155% of the long-term average across the country.

May 2024 was the warmest on record.

In particular there was strong growth for clothing and footwear retailers, furniture stores and shops selling sports equipment, games and toys. Online retailers also saw a rise in sales.

However, Kris Hamer, director of insight at the British Retail Consortium, noted that sales volumes remain below 2021 levels.

“Retailers hope that the recent start of Euro 2024 should further improve spending in snacks, alcohol and TVs for June’s figures — and if England can win their final game and move forward to Round of 16, it might give consumer confidence the boost it needs,” Hamer added.