UK retailers saw sales volumes rise strongly in May compared to a year ago, and sentiment regarding the business situation for the next quarter has improved, according to research released by the CBI today (30 May)

According to the CBI's latest quarterly  Distributive Trades Survey a balance of 21% of retailers recoded an increase in sales in May against the same period of the previous year.

Sentiment regarding the business situation for the next three months has also turned positive for the first time since November 2011, up 3%.

Some 34% of clothing retailers recorded gains on the same period of the previous year. However, some 19% of retailers said sales were below average for this time of year.

"It's encouraging to see high-street sales up compared to a year ago, and that business sentiment about the next three months has improved," said CBI Distributive Trades Panel chair and Asda COO Judith McKenna.

"However, sales are still below the average for the time of year and the combination of high unemployment, slow wage growth and weak consumer confidence means that the retail sector is likely to remain under pressure in the short term."