Retail sales show modest growth in May, boosted by online and summer clothing sales

Retail sales in the UK experienced a modest increase of 0.3% in May, following a rise of 0.5% in April, according to recent data.

The growth was driven by strong sales of summer clothing, thanks to the warmer weather. However, both food and non-food store sales volumes declined during the month, with decreases of 0.5% and 0.2% respectively.

The positive retail sales figures surpassed expectations, as economists had predicted a decrease of 0.2%. Non-store retailing sales volumes showed a positive trend, with a 2.7% increase in May. This surge can be attributed to the rising demand for summer clothing.

Charlie Huggins, Manager of the Quality Shares Portfolio at Wealth Club, commented on the improved retail sales. Huggins stated that the online sales of outdoor goods and summer clothing were boosted by favourable weather conditions. He also noted that consumer spending remained strong despite inflationary pressures.

Huggins expressed concerns about the future sustainability of this positive trend. With recent increases in mortgage rates and the risk of entrenched inflation, consumer confidence may face challenges in the latter half of the year. Huggins warned that these factors could potentially impact retailers, putting them under pressure.

However, for now, the UK consumer continues to defy pessimistic predictions, displaying resilience in the face of economic uncertainties. The retail industry will need to closely monitor consumer confidence and spending patterns as inflationary pressures and rising mortgage rates may create a more challenging environment in the future.

The May figures offer a glimmer of optimism for the UK retail industry, providing hope for continued growth in sales volumes.