UK retail sales were broadly flat in the year to May following strong growth in April, according to the latest CBI Quarterly Distributive Trades Survey. The research, involving 117 respondents, also found that year-on-year internet sales growth slowed and fell below the long-run average. Things are expected to pick up again in June, but growth is set to remain below the long-run average.
Clothing saw a sharp slowdown in the year to May, and grocers’ sales were flat after two months of growth. The hardware and DIY sector, however, reported a robust rise. Alpesh Paleja, CBI Principal Economist, says: “Retail sales flattened out this month, as the bounce in April unwound. It’s clear that households are increasingly feeling the pinch, as rising inflation pushes down on real earnings. Taken together with higher import cost pressures from a weaker pound, this is creating a challenging environment for retailers.”