• en

UK Retail Sales Rebound in May After April Slump

UK retail sales are up 1.3% year-on-year, but growth is skewed by extra public holiday and still below pre-pandemic levels.

British retail sales experienced a significant surge in May, following a decline in April due to heavy rainfall. According to official figures released on Friday, sales volumes rose 2.9% in May, exceeding economists’ forecasts of a 1.5% increase.

The Office for National Statistics reported that sales volumes were 1.3% higher compared to the same period last year, although still 0.5% below pre-pandemic levels in February 2020. However, yearly sales growth may be skewed due to an extra public holiday in May 2023 for King Charles’ coronation.

While the sales growth appeared robust, experts ,Lisa Hooker from PwC suggested that the improvement was less impressive when considering factors like the extra trading day, reduced employee payroll taxes, and a rise in the minimum wage.

British consumers has been grappling with high inflation, which only recently returned to the Bank of England’s 2% target after exceeding it for nearly three years.

Despite minimum wages now rising faster than inflation and consumer sentiment improving, shoppers remain cautious.

“We would have expected a larger improvement in sales volumes,” she said.

The retail sales boost was seen across most sectors, with clothing and furniture retailers experiencing a strong rebound after poor weather in April.

However, some retailers like JD Sports Fashion and DFS Furniture had reported disappointing sales, indicating that consumers were still hesitant to spend.

According to Silvia Rindone, retail lead at EY UK and Ireland, “Although macroeconomic indicators are improving, consumers are biding their time, waiting for a more optimistic climate before loosening their purse strings.”

Boluwatife Enome

Follow us on: