By Claire West

Continuing a sustained period of year-on-year growth, the volume of retail sales in May 2015 are estimated to have increased by 4.6% compared with May 2014.

This was the 26th consecutive month of year-on-year growth, the longest period of sustained growth since May 2008 when there were 31 periods of growth.

The Office for National Statistics have today reported that average store prices (including petrol stations) fell by 2.7% in May 2015 compared with May 2014. This is the 11th consecutive month of year-on-year price falls. The largest contribution once again came from petrol stations which fell by 10.2%, the 21st consecutive month of year-on-year falling prices in this store type.

In May 2015, the amount spent in the retail industry increased by 1.8% compared with May 2014 and by 0.2% compared with April 2015. Non-seasonally adjusted data show that the average weekly spend in the retail industry was £7.1 billion compared with £6.9 billion in April 2015 and £7.0 billion in May 2014.

The value of sales made online in May 2015 decreased by 2.1% compared with April 2015 and accounted for 12.0% of all retail sales. Online sales increased by 7.4% compared with May 2014.

Keith Richardson, Managing Director Retail Sector at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: "Last month’s high figures showed that when the conditions are right, canny consumers can still be persuaded to spend on a bargain. But after the sunniest April on record, May was another cold month — which must have felt like the return to a long winter for retailers.

“Despite falling prices and the feel-good factor of a Royal birth, savvy shoppers have had caution ingrained into their spending habits and are not yet ready to break out of their thrifty, survival mode.

“With summer finally making an appearance for most of us now, retailers will hope that shoppers celebrate the sunshine by splashing out on a new summer wardrobe or stocking up in readiness for their holidays.”