Britain's shoppers keep retail sales buoyant

Britain's shoppers showed resilience in May, official figures revealed yesterday. Retail sales volumes, excluding fuel, were up 0.9 per cent on the previous month and 3 per cent higher than the same month in 2011 according to the Office for National Statistics. This followed a deep, 1 per cent monthly fall in retail volumes in April.

David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "This increase proves that excessive pessimism over the UK economy is unjustified. Falling inflation is playing a role in reviving consumer demand." There were also encouraging signs from the CBI's monthly industrial trends survey, which showed a bounce back in confidence among manufacturers.