UK retail sales fall more than expected in May


London (AFP)

British retail sales fell by more than expected in May as consumers were hit in the pocket by high inflation, official data showed on Thursday.

Sales by volume dropped by 1.2 percent last month after jumping by an upwardly-revised 2.5 percent in April, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement.

Analysts' consensus forecast had been for a fall of 0.8 percent in May after warm weather had boosted sales the previous month.

"Increased retail prices across all sectors seem to be a significant factor in slowing growth" during May, ONS senior statistician Ole Black said in Thursday's release.

Official data earlier this week showed that British inflation surged in May close to a four-year high at 2.9 percent, as a Brexit-fuelled slump in the pound pushed up import costs.

And with wages growth failing to match the rises in inflation, consumers are limiting how much they spend in stores and online.

The ONS on Thursday added that retail sales rose 0.9 percent in May compared with the same month in 2016.

"We have not seen lower growth on the year since April 2013," said Black.