UK retail sales were up 0.5% on a like-for-like basis from May 2013, when they had increased 1.8% on the preceding year. On a total basis, sales were up 2.0%, against a 3.4% rise in May 2013.
Clothing was the best performing category, reporting its highest growth since December 2011, while Food was the lowest, reporting a decline in total terms.
The 3-month average year-on-year change for Food was -0.2% in total, turning negative for the first time since our record began in 2008, excluding Easter distortions. For Non-Food, the 3-month average was 4.3%, ahead of the 12-month trend of 3.8%.
Sector performance (total sales) - by Anne Alexandre, Senior Analyst, BRC
Clothing was the best-performing category in May. The warmer weather induced a step-change in the shopping mood, with all segments performing well, led by the largest segment, Women’s. Casual jersey and printed trousers did well, together with branded fashion. Summer accessories like sunglasses saw good demand. The availability of World-Cup-themed ranges in the run-up to Father’s Day was cited as a success in the Men’s segment. However, Children’s and Women’s also benefited from that theme. In addition to summer ranges, school-wear also sold well in the Children’s segment. It must be pointed out that May’s performance was flattered by a soft comparable period in 2013, once adjusted for the shifts induced by the extra week this year. It was felt that fewer promotions were run than last year.
House Textiles posted another good performance, with increased demand for lightweight duvets in the warmer weather.
Home Accessories was the best of all three Home segments in May, ranking just behind the fashion categories in the overall rankings table. Lighting was cited as a very good performer.
Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 17.0% in May versus a year earlier. The Non-Food online penetration rate was 18.7% in May, the second highest recorded, after last November.
Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: “This quarter sees overall growth in the retail economy with non-food items accelerating: their three-month average growth was 4.3 per cent against the twelve-month figure of 3.8 per cent.