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BRC: May sales rose with temperature

Published: 7 June 2012
Retail sales values were up by 1.3% in May 2012 compared with May 2011, when the LfL figure was down 2.1% on the previous year.
According to the BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor, sales were up by 3.4% on a total basis this year compared with a 0.3% decline in May 2011. While the reported highlight sales of food and clothing, online sales of non-food items were up by an optimistic 12.4% against growth of 10.4% last year.

The report cast a less cheerful light on homewares retailers, which bosses at KPMG said "found the going much tougher" than food and clothing retailers. Big-ticket items continued to struggle, due to consumers' continued underlying caution about jobs and the economy.

BRC director general Stephen Roberston said: "As the relentlessly difficult underlying conditions continue to make trading tough for retailers, any temporary boost is of even greater importance and retailers had plenty of reason to celebrate the eventual arrival of summer at the end of May. Much of the month's positive performance can be attributed to spending in the final week when consumers responded enthusiastically to the sun coming out.

"It's likely the prolonged wet period helped create pent-up demand and people also felt more relaxed about their spending as the sun created a feel good boost."

KPMG head of retail Helen Dickinson said: "Retailers are hoping that the Jubilee celebrations will have helped to pull out them of the mire, but a short-term patriotic spending spree will not overcome the underlying difficulties facing the industry - which remains under pressure from a combination of declining consumer confidence and squeezed incomes.

"After a dismal April, May was a much better month and many retailers will be breathing a small sigh of relief. Businesses in the home-related sectors, where good weather runs counter to strong performance, found the going much tougher. Those not selling big-ticket home-related items are hoping the sun stays out all summer long."

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