The Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that retail sales volumes in the UK increased by 0.3% in May 2023 after growing by 0.5% in April 2023.

During the month, non-store retailing sales volumes grew by 2.7%, driven by strong sales of outdoor-related goods and summer clothing by online retailers.

The sales volume of food stores declined by 0.5% in May 2023. Non-food stores’ sales volumes fell by 0.2% over the month.

Over the month, sales volumes for clothing stores also dropped by 0.4% while sales volumes for department stores and household goods stores rose by 0.6% and 1.5%, respectively.

The data also revealed that online spending values increased by 2.5% last month and the proportion of online sales rose to 26.5%. This is due to the monthly increases across all store types except other non-food stores.

Total retail sales in May were 17.0% higher in value terms than their pre-coronavirus levels in February 2020, but volumes were 0.8% lower.

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By GlobalData

British Retail Consortium (BRC) chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “May’s three bank holidays gave retailers a needed boost as sales growth accelerated to 7.7%.

“This could be seen for books and SPF cosmetics in particular, which improved due to the brighter weather at the end of the month and as people prepare for summer getaways. Nonetheless, households continue to feel the pinch from the high cost of living and are limiting their discretionary spending.”

Last month, the latest monthly Distributive Trades Survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) revealed that retail sales volume fell to -10% in May after growing 5% in the previous before.