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Wednesday 12th of August 2009
June 18, 2009

UK retail sales experience slide in May


by Kay Murchie
”UK

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed a slight fall in UK retail sales in May.

Retail sales fell 0.6% in May compared with the previous month and 1.6% down on the same month last year, said the ONS.

The fall in retail sales volumes were fuelled by falls in clothing and footwear where stores experienced a decline of 1.9% over the month, while other stores such as photography and sports reported a fall of 3%.

So far this year, retail sales have been better than expected but today’s figure was below analysts’ forecasts, who said wage freezes and rising unemployment is having an impact on purse strings.

The British Retail Consortium recently reported a fall in retail sales for May as consumers steered clear of buying big-ticket items.

Commenting on today’s figures, Vicky Redwood of Capital Economics, said: “We wouldn’t be surprised if this marked the start of a period of rather weaker sales growth than of late.”

“The credit crunch-driven nature of the slowdown so far appears to have primarily hit spending off the High Street.”

“But as the deteriorating labour market and future tax rises hit household incomes more generally, we expect a prolonged period of weakness in both retail and non-retail spending,“ added Ms Redwood.

In related news, separate research showed that online sales grew at their slowest rate on record in May.

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