Growth slows in UK retail sales

Clothing sales were their lowest since September, but retail continues its overall growth

UK retail sales growth slowed down in May, but economists are still upbeat about the how the year is shaping up.

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18 June 2015 | 0

Despite food retailers having a good month, clothing sales saw a decline in May, according to the latest figures published by the UK’s Office for National Statistics. Clothing sales were down by 1.6% on the previous month, the biggest drop since September 2014.

Experts say this drop was not altogether unexpected, given April’s unseasonably warm weather followed by a cooler May. Despite the drop, some economists predict that the UK’s end-of-year sales figures could be the strongest  in a decade as low inflation and rising incomes leave consumers with more disposable cash.

Despite the 1.6% overall drop, economists are looking on the bright side and focusing on the fact that despite the slowdown, retail sales were still up in May, showing a rise of 0.2% against 0.9% in April.

“These figures don’t only show growing consumer confidence in the economy,” commented Hannah Maundrell, editor in chief of money.co.uk. “It’s also proof that the good sentiment is translating in to cash at the tills. Consumers should make the most of the lower prices now, because there’s just no knowing how long this sweet spot will last.”

The optimism is infectious, but experts will surely be waiting anxiously for the June figures to see if the slowdown in clothing retail continues.



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