NEWS: UK RETAIL HITS A GROWTH SPURT IN MAY

by Rachel Parker

British retail sales grew at the fastest rate in four years during May, according to a report by the British Retail Consortium and KPMG.

Both online and offline sales were up overall, with the two bank holiday weekends giving us some time off to hit the shops. The report stated that total sales rose by 4.1%, while online non-food purchases increased by 4.3%.

The fashion sector was one of the areas to benefit from the growth, with the sunny weather and Royal Wedding spirit leading to a boost in sales of summer clothing ranges. According to Paul Martin, Head of Retail for KPMG, an ‘‘appetite for non-food categories, including fashion, also experienced a welcome uplift.’’

This is good news for the fashion economy, in a month where high-street stalwarts Marks and Spencer and House of Fraser have announced nationwide store closures. But Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief-Executive of the British Retail Consortium, warned that there is no room for complacency.

“Despite this more positive set of sales results, the retail environment remains extremely challenging, with trend growth still very low by historical standards. Retailers remain focused on investing in new and exciting shopping experiences for the future as margins remain tight and the competition fierce.”

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