Clothing weak in a cool May
US retailers recorded their sharpest fall in sales for nearly a year last month, according to the US Department of Commerce.

Retail sales in the country dropped by 0.5 per cent, which is below analyst expectations of 0.2 per cent and follows a 1.5 per cent rise in April. Excluding car sales, the drop is only 0.2 per cent.

US retailers suffered from cooler-than-expected weather over the month, dampening demand for seasonal clothing lines. Fashion sales fell 0.8 per cent over the period. Department store sales fared even worse, with a fall of 0.9 per cent. Electrical sales were more robust, with a drop of only 0.1 per cent. In contrast, DIY and furniture sales increased during the month.

The figures will be cold comfort for UK retailers, which have suffered successive sales falls, because it suggests waning consumer confidence across the world.