Uplift for May retail sales

Retail like-for-like sales in the UK were up by 1.8% this May compared to May 2012 and total sales were up 3.4%, while online sales were up 11%, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC). 

Director general of the BRC Helen Dickinson said retailers had done a good job in May despite “topsy-turvy temperatures” and economic difficulties. “The first month since February to be free of Easter timing distortions showed positive total growth in every category and overall growth well above the 12-month average,” she said.

Meanwhile, David McCorquodale, head of retail at tax, audit and advisory services company KPMG, said: “While sales didn’t soar through the roof, this is still a very creditable performance from UK retailers. Remember, these are ‘back to basics’ sales that haven’t been artificially boosted by one-off factors like Easter or last year’s Jubilee. Promoting the right product at the right price made the difference in May.”

McCorquodale also explained that food was in line with inflation and said consumers were still “highly sensitive about price”, leading retailers to use promotions as footfall drivers. He added: “Just how much margin is being given away to boost sales is yet to be seen in the retailers’ accounts, but on the surface, these promotions seem to be working.”