Retail sales growth slows despite May bank holidays

6th June 2023 | Jack Oliver

Multiple bank holidays in May failed to boost retail sales growth, the latest report from the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor has revealed.

UK retail sales increased by 3.9% in May 2023, however this was below the three-month average of 4.7%.

Sales growth continued to be higher than in 2022, which saw a decline of 1.1% during May. The increase of 3.9% was also higher than the 12 month average growth of 3.1%.

On a like-for-like basis, retail sales grew by 3.1% in May, against a fall of 1.5% in May 2022. This was below the three-month average of 4.6% and above the 12-month average growth of 3.1%.

Food sales were boosted by the Coronation weekend, increasing by 9.6%, above the 12-month average growth of 6.9%. non-food sales rose by 0.7%, up on the 12-month average growth of 0.5%.

Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “The trio of bank holidays failed to get shoppers spending as sales growth slowed to its lowest level in six months. While food sales got a boost from the Coronation weekend, this was not sustained for the rest of the month. Meanwhile, growth in discretionary spend continued to tumble as the high cost of living squeezed households.”

Paul Martin, UK head of retail for KPMG, added: “Retailers will be hoping that inflation levels in the wider economy continue to move in the right direction in order to boost much needed consumer confidence.  The wild card for the retail sector remains uncontrollable food inflation, which shows little sign of coming down in the near future, and this is having a significant knock-on effect on non-essential spending.”


Looking for more retail news? you might find these interesting