Retail sales suffer 'biggest decline on record' in May

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Retail sales suffered “the biggest decline on record” during May, as food sales dropping for the first time in nearly four years.

Like-for-like sales decreased by 3% compared to the same period in 2018, when they registered a 2.8% uptick year on year, according to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor. This was the steepest like-for-like decline since December 2008.

Total retail sales also plummeted by 2.7%, which, excluding Easter distortions, was the worst decline since the sales monitor began in January 1995. This was set against a 4.1% increase in total sales for May 2018, which was itself a four-year record.

Most worryingly for retailers, in-store sales of food increased just 0.8% on a like-for-like basis in the three months to May, below the 12-month total average growth of 2.5%.

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