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Retail sales grow at strongest rate in May

Retail sales grow at strongest rate in May

The ongoing easing of social-distancing restrictions and continued pent-up demand for in-store shopping drove the spike in sales during May.

Clothing retailers were the biggest beneficiaries of pent-up demand, clocking up increases of more than 100 per cent as an easing of restrictions saw stores reopen and social events slowly come back on the agenda.

Total sales increased 10% in May compared with the same month in 2019.

Online sales were a major factor in the surging sales figures.

Total sales increase 10% in May compared with the same month in 2019.

That outstripped the 7.3% gains made in April on a two-year basis and the 8.3% growth recorded in March.

Like-for-like sales jumped 23.7% last month compared with May 2019, when sales decreased three per cent from the previous year.

Meanwhile, online sales were a major factor in the surging sales figures with non-food ecommerce sales climbing 39.1 per cent on May 2019 levels.

The BRC and KPMG said that the ongoing easing of social-distancing restrictions and continued pent-up demand for in-store shopping drove the spike in sales during May.

Non-food sales overall were up 7.5 per cent in the three months to the end of May, compared with the same period in 2019, while food sales increased 9.8 per cent.

Pent-up demand for the in-store shopping experience, as well as the first signs of summer weather, helped retail to the strongest sales growth of the pandemic.

Large cities have been hardest hit by the pandemic, with so many people still working from home and footfall remaining considerably down as shoppers increasingly choose to shop local.

Although some spend has migrated to the high street, there was still high penetration of online spending in May, reinforcing the view that the pandemic has seen a step-up in online activity as some consumers maintain their use of this channel out of habit and choice, and some remain nervous about venturing back into stores.”

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