Retail sales volumes rose by 0.6 per cent between April and May 2010, a larger increase than experts had predicted.
The latest figures are broadly in line with stats released by the British Retail Consortium last week.
The BRC/KPMG survey said UK like for like sales rose by 0.8 per cent in May, following a drop of 2.3 per cent in April, which was distorted by the first two days of the Easter bank holiday falling into the March data.
The BRC also showed non-food non-store sales (internet, mail-order and phone sales) in May were 21.9 per cent higher than a year ago, up from 15.9% in April. Although the best since December, May's gain was against relatively weak growth in May 2009.
BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: ”The official figures paint a similar picture to our own findings. Sales revived in May as summer weather arrived and distortions caused by the timing of Easter ended. The BRC Retail Sales Monitor showed food sales growth returned to more normal levels.
“The World Cup helped sales of televisions, though this was largely discount-driven. With the tournament in full swing, there should be further gains for other football merchandise, such as flags and replica kits, which will show up in the June figures.
“May’s ONS sales figures are currently a bit higher than the BRC’s. But the ONS data has been significantly revised downwards for every month this year. We expect the same to happen to these.”