UK retail sales grew in both volume and value across most sectors in May as fashion and furniture bounced back from the damp month of April.

Retail sales volumes were up 2.9% across most sectors in May, following a fall of 1.8% in April, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) retail sales data.

Sales volumes and values rebounded in May

The latest retail sales data shows that fashion and furniture retailers rebounded during the month after poor and unseasonable weather in April.

Compared with the three months prior, sales volumes increased by 1% for the three months to May 2024, despite falling by 0.2% compared with the same period last year.

The ONS reported strong growth for clothing and footwear, furniture, sports equipment, games and toy retailers during the month and credited this to better weather, greater footfall and “the impact of promotions”.

The news comes as non-food store sales volume increased by 3.5%, marking the largest monthly rise since April 2021 and following a 3% decline last month for the category.

The amount spent online in May was up by 5.4% and jumped by 4.1% over the year as a whole.

Volumes rose across all main sectors

Deloitte head of retail Oliver Vernon-Harcourt attributed the bounceback to the warmer weather, the double bank holiday and the start of a big summer of sport as the Euros kicked off.

“A double bank holiday in May boosted the retail sector, which saw its first retail sales volume growth since January,” he said.

“The tide could be finally turning for retailers, with more consumers releasing their purse strings and spending on discretionary items such as clothing and furniture.

“There are signs that certain recessionary behaviours are easing as non-food store sales saw the largest volume rise since April 2021.

“The summer of sport has kicked off and, with warmer days upon us, the retail sector will be hoping to see spending momentum continue.

“Consumers are feeling more confident about their disposable income, but the next step for retail recovery will be seeing this translate into sustained levels of spending.”