LONDON, June 20 (Reuters) - British retail sales rebounded much more than expected in May, lifted by discounting at supermarkets and online shopping, official data showed on Thursday.
RETAIL SALES VOLUME MAY APR FORECAST
Monthly s/adj change 2.1 -1.1 (-1.3) 0.8
Year-on-year change 1.9 0.8 (0.5) 0.2
Sales excl. fuel mm 2.1 -1.2 (-1.4) 0.9
Sales excl. fuel yy 2.1 0.6 (0.2) 0.5
- Biggest monthly and yearly rises in retail sales, both including and excluding fuel, since February
- Sharpest monthly rise in food sales since April 2011
"It is strong and surprisingly so. But it has been very volatile of late with the weather effect being quite unpredictable. The bottom line is if you look at the three-month averages, sales are growing at a reasonable rate but nothing like this month-on-month increase. It's somewhere like 0.6 percent three month-on-three month. This is supportive of the view that second-quarter GDP figures in the UK will look pretty good. The economy could be growing upwards of 0.5 pct on the quarter. That's consistent with what the Bank of England expects... and nonetheless three people on the MPC are still calling for more stimulus. So I wouldn't view these data as being inconsistent with calls for more stimulus in the UK. But there is a genuine debate to be had as to whether the second-quarter figures are part of a sustained recovery or just in some respects an erratically strong quarter."
"It's surprisingly positive - even stronger than we expected. Food store sales bounced back very strongly and the other big surprise was clothing stores. There were also upward revisions to previous months."
"The numbers are obviously very firm. It seems some of it was driven by increased discounting but overall it's generally consistent with data of the last few months where UK numbers are getting firmer."