Retail sales growth slows in May as clothing sales dip

Jessica Morris
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Overall figures were held back by a dip in sales of textiles and footwear (Source: Getty)

Retail sales growth slowed to 0.2 per cent last month, after rising a downwardly revised 0.9 percent in April, according to data released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

This meant sales rose 4.6 per cent year-on-year in May, and it also marked the 26th consecutive month of annual growth.

Read more: UK retail sales smash expectations rising 4.7 per cent year-on-year in April

Additionally amount spent (or value) rose by 1.8 per cent year-on-year, and by 0.2 per cent month-on-month.

"Sales were held back in May by a marked dip in sales of textiles and footwear; this was clearly the consequence of sales of summer clothing and footwear being pulled forward into April by warmer weather during the months," Howard Archer, chief economist at IHS, said."

"The prospects for retail sales and consumer spending look bright, especially now that earnings growth seems to be firming appreciably thereby boosting purchasing power along with negligible inflation."

Official data released yesterday showed wages grew at a rate of 2.7 per cent between February and April, the fastest rate since August 2001, and outpacing inflation which is currently 0.1 per cent in the UK.

Read more: UK wage growth smashes expectations and unemployment falls again

The ONS said clothing sales were down 1.6 percent from a month earlier, the biggest fall since September 2014.

At the same time, food sales put in an uncharacteristically strong performance, up 0.6 per cent month-on-month.

"A stronger performance from food retailers, which saw value and volume growth, was driven in part by supermarket promotions on alcohol," Ian Geddes, UK head of retail at Deloitte, said.

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