By Jonathan Davies
Retail sales were hit by unusual chilly weather in May, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
Like-for-like sales, which exclude new stores, were flat compared with May 2014. Total sales grew 1.1%.
The market was largely boosted by furniture sales, the BRC said, with fashion sales suffering their biggest falls for eight months.
May is usually the month when shoppers begin to make their summer purchases, but an uncharacteristically chilly month meant consumers were put-off their shorts, sandals and summer dresses.
“With Easter distortions behind us, May’s retail sales figures were disappointingly flat,” said David McCorquodale, head of retail at the report’s co-authors, KPMG.
“Buoyed by a conclusive result in May’s general election, the housing market picked up, leading to stand out performances for furniture and homeware sales ... Elsewhere, footwear and fashion sales wilted against strong performances last year as consumers put off the summer wardrobe refresh as they waited for the unseasonably cool May weather to improve. Many retailers stretched out summer sales events and deepened discounts in order to try and entice consumers through the door.”
After tough months in April and May, things aren't likely to get any better in June with like-for-like sales comparing to last year's football World Cup in Brazil, which gave a boost to retailers.