British retailers reported a return to normal for sales volumes this month after a flurry of demand in April when lockdown restrictions lifted for non-essential shops, the Confederation of British Industry said on Tuesday.
The CBI's balance for sales for the time of year dropped to -3 in May from +16 in April, indicating roughly normal sales volumes.
"The fact that sales were in line with seasonal norms is a definite improvement from earlier in the year, but this month's survey was perhaps a touch disappointing after April's stronger results," CBI economist Ben Jones said.
The CBI said its measure of sales for the time of year gave a clearer signal than its headline measure of sales, which asks retailers to compare demand against a year earlier, when most shops were shut due to the lockdown.
That measure fell to +18 in May from +20 in April, well below economists' forecasts in a Reuters poll for it to rise to +30.