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    Grocery sales in May bounced back

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    May saw only a modest rebound in retail sales despite a strong bank holiday weekend for retailers, shows data released today (4).

    According to British Retail Consortium (BRC), UK total retail sales increased by 0.7 per cent year on year in May, against a growth of 3.9 per cent in May 2023. This was above the 3-month average growth of 0.3 per cent and below the 12-month average growth of 2.0 per cent.

    Food sales increased 3.6 per cent year on year over the three months to May, against a growth of 9.6 per cent in May 2023. This is below the 12-month average growth of 6.4 per cent. For the month of May, food was in growth year-on-year.

    Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said, “Despite a strong bank holiday weekend for retailers, minimal improvement to weather across most of May meant only a modest rebound in retail sales last month. Although non-food sales fell over the course of the month, the long weekend did see increased purchases of DIY and gardening equipment, as well as strong clothing sales. Growth in computing sales reached their highest levels since the pandemic, with many consumers continuing to upgrade tech bought during that period. Retailers remain optimistic that major events such as the Euros and the Olympics will bolster consumer confidence this summer.

    “With an election only four weeks away, retailers stand ready to collaborate with the next government to unlock economic potential, benefiting customers, colleagues, and communities alike. Cross government co-ordination and outcome driven policy making must no longer be an afterthought in government decision making. Retail really is the “everywhere economy”, and with the right policy environment can use its scale and reach to support public policy goals.”

    Commenting on food and drink sector, Sarah Bradbury, CEO, IGD, said, “Shopper confidence remained relatively stable this month as shoppers continue to be divided in their spending habits. Glimpses of the warmer weather and confirmation that the UK is no longer in a recession, combined with inflation falling to its lowest level in three years may have contributed to the 3-point up-tick in shopper confidence compared to April last year. We can see that shopper confidence, overall, is continuing with a marginally positive outlook.

    “Grocery sales in May bounced back into growth following April’s decline, although it must be remembered with Easter falling in March this year, comparisons for April were always going to struggle. Although, sales in May were back into year-on-year growth, the rate of growth is beginning to slow down as inflation continues its path back to normality. Further encouraging signs for the grocery sector include an increase in volumes during May; an improvement from last year.”`

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