UK retail sales up as clothing and furniture rebound

UK retail sales volumes jumped by 2.9 per cent last month following a decline in April.

According to the latest ONS retail figures, sales volumes increased across most sectors in May, with both clothing and furniture retailers rebounding after poor performance in the previous month.

Online sales in particular did well for textile, clothing and footwear stores, jumping by nearly 10 per cent over the four-week period.

The results come after volumes dropped by 2.3 per cent in April, with clothing retailers, sports equipment, games and toys stores, and furniture stores doing badly as poor weather reduced footfall.

Kris Hamer, director of insight at the British Retail Consortium said that while the record warmth of May led to a small recovery in retail sales, with larger retailers outperforming smaller ones, volumes still remain below their 2021 levels.

"Retailers hope that the recent start of Euro 2024 should further improve spending in snacks, alcohol, and TVs for June’s figures – and if England can win their final game and move forward to Round of 16 , it might give consumer confidence the boost it needs," he continued.

Matt Jeffers, retail strategy and consulting managing director for Accenture in the UK and Ireland said that there are signs that consumers will continue to buck recent trends, with more potential sales growth over the coming months.

But Tom Youldon, partner at McKinsey & Company warned that volatility could persist.

"Many shoppers are quickly swinging from saving to splurging," he said. "Retailers need to build a rich understanding of fast-changing preferences so they can deliver value through loyalty and pricing strategies - offering premium products where consumers are willing to treat themselves or tailoring product assortments in categories where shoppers are trading-down or switching brands.”

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