Figures up year on year
Shoppers go online to splash out on summer
Spending rose by 1.4% year on year, but the slowing economy will make shoppers hold back, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “The uncertain outlook means that customers will remain cautious with their spending, therefore we expect sales figures to remain volatile for the time being.
Like-for-like figures show that sales rose by 0.5% in May compared with a 0.9% fall in April.
The pace of online sales, excluding food, surged by 13.7%, described as a “stark acceleration” from the previous month’s 6.6 rise.
Householders splashed out on paddling pools, outdoor toys and new clothes.
The sales growth meant that online sales made up 21.2% of all non-food sales in May. This was the third-highest level recorded by the BRC-KPMG monitor, after last November and January, which were boosted by Black Friday and post-Christmas sales respectively.
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: “Sales of toys and baby equipment surged during the month with the delayed warmer weather persuading consumers to entertain the kids with paddling pools and outdoor toys.
“Summery sunshine also encouraged shoppers into shorts and t-shirts as consumers took advantage of deeper discounts and well-timed promotions to start the summer wardrobe refresh.”
The Euro 2016 football tournament kicking off in France this weekend is expected to give a boost to food and drink sales.