Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show poor performance in clothing and footwear, which declined 1.9% last month, depressed UK retail sales in May.
Retail sales volumes in May were 0.6% lower than in April and 1.6% lower than in the same month a year ago. Sales in March to May were 0.3% up on the previous three months.
Although retail sales have held up better than expected so far in 2009 (and this is especially the case in Brighton & Hove), analysts suggest that wage freezes and the growth in unemployment were becoming an increasingly strong disincentive for consumers to continue spending.
Vicky Redwood of Capital Economics said, "The credit crunch-driven nature of the slowdown so far appears to have primarily hit spending off the High Street but as the deteriorating labour market and future tax rises hit household incomes more generally, we expect a prolonged period of weakness in both retail and non-retail spending."
A separate study suggested there has also been a sharp fall in the growth in online sales - which rose to 8.2% from a year ago, compared with 30% in the 12 months to May 2008.
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