Thanks to strong online sales, retail sales volume across UK were 1.9 per cent higher than a year ago.
According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), sales were also up 2.1 per cent as against April figures, with the figures showing that value of sales stood at £27.1 billion, up 3.1 per cent on an annual basis and 2.1 per cent on a monthly basis, much of which could be accounted for sturdy sales of food items. Consumers, on an average spent £6.8 billion per week at the retailers.
This comes as a bright spot in a rather dull scenario, with the findings beating expectations of analysts. Also the buoyancy had followed the lacklustre April sales, marking the sharpest fall in sales in a year.
The buoyancy could be attributed to heavy discounting by supermarkets and stores, which helped boost food sales that were up 3.5 per cent from April. The Office of National Statistics said in a statement, ''Feedback from retailers suggested that promotions on summer ranges led to this increase in sales."
Online sales continued to rise, registering a robust growth of 10.3 per cent from a year earlier, with sales from textile, clothing and footwear stores increasing 1.1 per cent year-on-year.
According to Jon Copestake, retail analyst at The Economist Intelligence Unit, the unexpected rise in May retail sales would be welcome news for retailers after cold weather and weak sentiment undermined previous months.
He added, in this respect some of the gains could be viewed as pent up demand. He said, with food providing some of the strongest growth, the impetus was already being attributed to supermarket discounting, reflected in the flat relationship between value growth and volume growth.