Clothing lags behind
Underlying growth in retail sales remains strong, bolstered by an increase in sales volumes during May, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Analysis of monthly figures revealed that sales volumes increased 0.4 per cent between April and May. Growth was reported for all sectors except textiles, clothing and footwear retailers, where sales decreased 2.5 per cent following a buoyant April. Sales at food stores also increased 0.2 per cent, which is in line with growth for the previous two months.

The largest increases occurred in household goods stores, where sales jumped 2.9 per cent following a 3.2 per cent drop in April and non-store retailing, which rose 2.6 per cent.

The volume of retail sales in the three months to May was 1.1 per cent higher than the previous three months to April, where a 1.2 per cent increase was reported.

Year-on-year sales by food stores increased 5 per cent, compared with a 3.4 per cent rise for non-food stores and 13.5 per cent for non-store retailing. However, sales by clothing retailers increased just 2.9 per cent, the lowest for this sector since June last year.

The average weekly value of sales in May was£4.9 billion, 4.6 per cent higher than May last year.