A surge in demand for televisions ahead of the World Cup helped retail sales bounce back last month, according to new figures.
Data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) showed that UK retail sales lifted by 0.8 per cent on a comparable basis last month in a return to growth after pre-election uncertainty and the timing of Easter hit April’s results.
Warmer weather boosted DIY and clothing sales in May, while the upcoming World Cup tournament drove growth in televisions, with non-food non-store sales in particular benefiting - up 21.9 per cent, the best performance since December.
And experts predicted the World Cup could offer further retail cheer, with the potential for a much-needed boost to shopper confidence if England enjoy a long run in the tournament.
Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, said: “The sunnier second half of May provided a welcome boost to overall sales. The warmer weather combined with discounts and promotions encouraged spending on clothing, footwear, outdoor DIY and gardening.”
He added: “The run-up to the World Cup helped sales of televisions, though this was largely discount-driven. With the tournament getting closer, there should be a further uplift and to other football merchandise such as flags and replica kits.”
The BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor showed retail sales rebounding from a 2.3 per cent slump in April, although this was partly down to the effect of Easter.
The three-month average, which irons out Easter distortions, showed like-for-like sales up by 1.2 per cent on a year earlier in May - easing back from 1.6 per cent in April.
Helen Dickinson, head of retail at KPMG, said: “May’s results are more indicative of the underlying trend as the last couple of months were impacted by the timing of Easter.
“The election campaign didn’t shift consumer spending patterns much either one way or the other, but whether the forthcoming Budget will be more damaging remains to be seen and many retailers remain reliant on promotional activity to drive footfall and sales.”