17 Jun 2010
British retail sales rose six times faster than expected on the month in May as consumers flocked to electrical goods stores ahead of the World Cup soccer tournament, according to the Office for National Statistics.
The Office for National Statistics said sales volumes including automotive fuel rose 0.6 percent last month and 2.2 percent on the year. Analysts had forecast a rise of 0.1 percent on the year for an annual rise of 2.0 percent.
Excluding fuel, retail sales were 0.5 percent higher on the month and were up 3.4 percent on the year.
The ONS said there was no growth in retail sales on the month in April, revising down its initial reading of 0.3 percent.
However, underlying growth picked up in May. The three-month on three-month rolling rate rose to 1.0 percent from a flat reading in April – its strongest since October 2009.
The figures suggest that consumer spending could give a boost to second quarter economic growth, although the outlook remains uncertain given recent falls in consumer confidence and the prospect of severe government spending cuts.
The ONS said sales at household goods stores rose 1.7 percent on the month, with electrical goods performing strongly.
Sales of televisions are likely to have helped the month’s figures as soccer-mad Britons splashed out on the latest technology before the World Cup in South Africa.
Food stores booked their biggest monthly rise in sales since June 2009.
Sales of clothing and footwear, however, suffered their worst month since November 2009.
The price deflator, which measures how much retailers are hiking prices, eased to 2.3 percent on the year in May from 2.9 percent in April.