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UK retail sales declined by 1.5% in May, as predicted by MNI's Reality Check, confounding City expectations of a 1.5% increase. Supermarket sales plunged by 5.7%, the biggest-ever fall in a series dating back to early 1988, as consumers returning to eating out following the lifting of hospitality restrictions on 12 May. Non-food sales rose by 2.3%, lifted by a 9.0% jump in household good sales, the ONS data showed.
Petrol sales surged by 6.2%, extending double-digit increases in March and April, but remain 4.3% below pre-pandemic levels. Internet sales declined by 5.7% between April and May, rising just 2.0% over the same month of 2020, taking internet sales down to 28.5% of total purchases, from 29.8% in April. Despite the May decline, total sales stand 9.1% above pre-pandemic levels. After the 9.2% rise in April, sales could decline by as much as 28% in June and still leave retailing on par with Q1
Retail sales rose by 24.6% over the same month of 2020 and stand 8.9% above the level of May 2019.