By Daniel Hunter

UK retail sales fell for the first time since January last month, despite strong sales of replica football shirts ahead of the World Cup, official figures have shown.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) said retail sales fell 0.5% in May compared with a month earlier.

David McCorquodale, UK Head of Retail at KPMG, said: “World Cup fever has hit the high street and sales of sports clothing and equipment soared in the run up to the tournament, up a massive 28.9% year on year. The feel good factor created by this momentous sporting event has undoubtedly delivered a real boost to the retail sector and should help to drive sales in June too, as people buy replica football shirts, food and drink to enjoy the games.

“However, not all sectors are posting such positive results. The grocers’ discounting campaigns are cutting into their margins and causing widespread concern amongst the investor community. While price cuts are good for consumers, if too prolonged they risk damaging the long term health of individual grocers.”

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