Image: Wikimedia Image: Wikimedia

Cold weather has been blamed for poor retail sales in the UK during May by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS said retail sales dropped 0.5% compared with April, which is the biggest fall this year. Compared with May last year sales rose 2.3%, but that was the slowest annual growth since October 2018.

The ONS said that with colder weather throughout the month of May, shoppers delayed buying summer clothing.

Philipp Gutzwiller, head of retail at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: "Although earnings continue to outstrip inflation, a second stutter in as many months will serve as a stark reminder that the retail sector’s recent growth should not be taken for granted. Despite the high street’s challenges, the long-term shift in consumer habits has been encouraging further creativity among retailers online and in store as they look to stay ahead of the curve."

Although the ONS blamed the cold weather, May's poor performance appears to be part of a wider, longer-term trend in the retail industry.

According to a report by the Resolution Foundation, people under the age of 30 are spending less money on non-household items than the same age group in 2001. It found that the average spend for under 30s is down 7% over the past 18 years. However, over 65s are spending 37% more on non-household items.