Retail sales slump in May despite relaxed lockdown restrictions

Coronavirus supermarket shopper

After a record low in April, May sales figures showed little signs of improvement, registering the second-worst decline since records began in 1995.

Total retail sales dropped 5.9% in May, compared to a 1.9% decline in the same month of the previous year, according to the BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor.

While this marks a slight improvement on April, when sales declined 19.1%, this was still the second-worst decline on record. The fall was less steep than the three-month average decline of 9.4% but below the 12-month average decline of 2.6%.

Like-for-like sales in May, with figures excluding non-essential stores still mandated to close by the government but including online sales, show a 7.9% increase, largely driven by online.

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