UK retail sales saw only a “modest rebound” in May, according to the latest data from BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

Sunny shopping street

The “modest rebound” was attributed to a “minimal improvement” to the weather

Total UK retail sales saw a marginal 0.7% increase year on year, compared with a rise of 3.9% in May 2023. This was above the three-month average of 0.3% and below the 12-month average of 2%.

The “modest rebound” was attributed to a “minimal improvement” to the weather.

Food sales saw a rise of 3.6% year on year in the three months to May, compared with a rise of 9.6% in May 2023. This was below the 12-month average growth of 6.4%.

Non-food sales declined 2.4% in the three months to May, versus a 0.7% decrease in the same period last year. 

In-store non-food sales fell 2.7% against a rise of 2.9% the year before, while online non-food sales grew 1.5% year on year compared with a 3% decline in May 2023.

The online penetration rate for non-food items bought online reached 36.7%, up from 35.9% in May 2023 and above the 12-month average of 36.1%.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Despite a strong bank holiday weekend for retailers, minimal improvement to weather across most of May meant only a modest rebound in retail sales last month. 

“Although non-food sales fell over the course of the month, the long weekend did see increased purchases of DIY and gardening equipment, as well as strong clothing sales.” 

The ‘everywhere economy’

Growth in computing sales reached their highest levels since the pandemic, with many consumers continuing to upgrade outdated tech. 

“Retailers remain optimistic that major events, such as the Euros and the Olympics, will bolster consumer confidence this summer.

“With an election only four weeks away, retailers stand ready to collaborate with the next government to unlock economic potential, benefiting customers, colleagues and communities alike. 

“Cross government co-ordination and outcome-driven policy making must no longer be an afterthought in government decision making.

“Retail really is the “everywhere economy”, and with the right policy environment can use its scale and reach to support public policy goals.”