London sales up after ash crisis ends...

SALES in London bounced back last month as flights returned to normal after the volcanic ash cloud that left thousands of tourists stranded.

Figures from the British Retail Consortium showed sales soaring by 11.6 per cent in May compared to the same month last year.

That compared with a meagre 0.8 per cent increase across the UK.

Over the period from March to May London sales figures shot up by 8.8 per cent compared with 1.2 per cent in the UK.

Sterling’s weakness continued to attract overseas visitors, especially from those arriving from western Europe, China and the Middle East.

Clothing and footwear received a boost from the improved weather while food also saw an increase.

Helen Dickinson, head of retail at KPMG, said: “London’s retail sales bounced back in May as the weather picked up and tourist numbers were strong.

“May 2009 was one of the weakest months of last year, further boosting the year-on-year comparisons. The election campaign does not appear to have dented spending patterns in the capital but, as many London retailers are already reliant on promotional activity to drive footfall and sales, we will have to wait and see if the forthcoming budget will alter the current trend of outperforming the UK.”