Retail sales in the UK have been average this month, according to the Confederation of British Industry’s (CBI) latest quarterly Distributive Trades Survey.

A total of 126 companies were included in the survey, 56 of which were retailers.

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The survey reported that retail sales have been average for May, after having declined by 24% last month.

The figure is, however, expected to drop by 13% next month.

The survey revealed that wholesalers’ sales grew by 41% this month after rising by 39% in April, while online sales volumes declined at the quickest rate of 59%, with this trend expected to ease next month at -54%.

In the next three months, retailers expect sales to weaken by 13%, which would be the quickest fall since November 2020.

Year-on-year retail sales were broadly flat to -1% this month, having declined by 35% in April.

CBI principal economist Martin Sartorius said: “Despite retail sales returning to their average for the time of year in May, the outlook for the sector has worsened due to high inflation and broader economic uncertainty.

“As a result, retailers are reining in their investment plans for the year ahead to the greatest extent since May 2020.   

“Government action to ensure the economic security of the poorest households and support the investment ambitions of retailers will be crucial to ensure the longer-term prosperity of the UK economy and society.”

The CBI noted that UK investment intentions for the next 12 months are at their weakest level since May 2020.

Recent data from the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that retail sales volume in the country increased by 1.4% last month after dropping by 1.2% in March.

Retail sale values unadjusted for price changes increased by 1.9% in April, having risen by 0.6% in the previous month.