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UK retail sales rise in May, clothing retailers welcome rebound

By Rachel Douglass


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Brighton, UK. Credits: Unsplash.

One day on from the report that inflation had finally hit Bank of England’s target, dropping to 2 percent, there appears to be more good news on the horizon for UK retailers.

New figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have shown that retail sales volumes rose by 2.9 percent in May following a slight 1.8 percent drop in April.

Notably, clothing retailers were among those benefiting from the increase, rebounding during May after battling poor weather conditions the month prior.

As such, non-food stores sales volumes, of which clothing is a part, rose 3.5 percent, making it the largest monthly rise since April 2021, according to ONS.

There was also a significant bump up in the way of online sales too, with the sector seeing an increase of 5.4 percent in May and 4.1 percent over the year. Total spend, meanwhile, was up 3.3 percent during the month.

Speaking on the latest figures, Matt Jeffers, retail strategy and consulting managing director of Accenture, UK & Ireland, said: “Consumers have finally bucked the trend from the past few months and retailers will be relieved to see that they’ve returned to store despite the inclement weather.”

Jeffers added that big occasions this summer, including the Euros and Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, could help further this growth and provide a “boost for sales as consumers prioritise spending on experiences and events”.

He continued: “Retailers will have also been planning how to capitalise on these moments with new marketing and value propositions which, coupled with a more settled weather forecast, may help to boost sales in the months ahead.”