UK Retail Sales Bounce Back In May, Price Growth Slows: CBI

By Reuters
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UK Retail Sales Bounce Back In May, Price Growth Slows: CBI

British retail sales bounced back in May after a slump in April that could have been caused by the timing of Easter and bad weather, while prices charged by shops pointed to the weakest inflation in nearly four years, according to industry data.

The Confederation of British Industry's (CBI) monthly retail sales balance, a gauge of sales versus a year ago, recovered to +8 this month after tumbling to -44 in April.

More retailers felt sales were normal for the time of year than at any other time in the past eight months, the CBI said.

British consumers are recovering some of the spending power lost to the surge in inflation although official data published last week showed retail sales in April slid by far more than expected as heavy rain kept shoppers away.

Selling Price Inflation

The CBI's measure of selling price inflation was its slowest since August 2020 and was below its long-run average with expectations of only a slight pick-up in June.


Earlier, the British Retail Consortium said its measure of shop prices showed the weakest increase in two-and-a-half years this month, welcome news for the Bank of England as it considers when to cut interest rates.

Alpesh Paleja, CBI lead economist, said the data added to signs of an improvement for retailers in the near term

"Falling inflation, and continuing real wage growth will contribute to a healthier consumer outlook, in turn supporting the retail sector further," he said.

However, a drop in retailers' investment intentions underscored the fragile mood in the sector.

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