Rain was the only thing that dampened shoppers’ enthusiasm last month. Latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) show that the volume of retail sales rose for most of May, until the outbreak of rainy weather. Sales rose 5.7%, although the last week of the month saw a fall off in business as the poorer weather kept shoppers at home. Like-for-like sales, which exclude the effect of new and expanded stores were 3.2% higher – roughly in line with the trend over the last three months. Retailers noted that the rising volume of sales was being achieved through intense price competition and did not point to a retail boom. Mark Bradshaw, acting director general of the BRC, said: “These figures show the continuation of the slow, steady recovery we have seen since the beginning of the year. “There is some evidence of increased consumer confidence, but shoppers remain extremely bargain conscious, which is exacerbating price deflation across the sector.”

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