• May 2012 retail sales volumes: up 1.4% on the month, up 2.4% on the year
Commenting on the retail sales figures for May 2012, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:“This increase in sales, which follows positive labour market figures this week, proves that excessive pessimism over the state of the UK economy is unjustified. Falling inflation is clearly playing a role in reviving consumer demand. High street prices fell in May, and have risen less than 1% over the past year. This puts pressure on margins, but it encourages consumers to spend at a time when domestic demand is being hit by tough austerity measures.
“Although this is positive news for the economy, we cannot become complacent. Growth is still too low, and we need the government to focus its attention on measures to boost the economy. Deregulation, increasing infrastructure spending and introducing a business bank will help businesses create jobs and drive growth.”