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United Kingdom Retail May 2024

United Kingdom: Retail sales bounce back in May

Retail sales expanded 2.8% in month-on-month seasonally adjusted terms in May, which contrasted April’s 1.7% decrease and was nearly double market expectations. Sales volumes rose across most sectors, with clothing and furniture sales rebounding in particular following poor weather in April.

On an annual basis, retail sales rebounded, rising 1.2% in May (April: -2.2% yoy), the best result since March 2022. Accordingly, the trend improved slightly, with the annual average variation of retail sales coming in at minus 1.4%, up from April’s minus 1.7% reading.

Looking at April and May data together to smooth out monthly volatility shows that retail sales in the two-month period were slightly lower than the Q1 average, boding poorly for overall private spending in the second quarter.

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