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UK retail sales dropped unexpectedly in May after a sharp growth in April when retail restrictions were eased, data from the Office for National Statistics revealed on Friday.

Retail sales dropped 1.4 percent month-on-month in May, reversing a 9.2 percent rise in April and confounding expectations for an increase of 1.6 percent.

Excluding auto fuel, retail sales dropped 2.1 percent after rising 9.1 percent in the previous month. Sales were forecast to climb 1.5 percent.

On a yearly basis, the retail sales volume growth moderated to 24.6 percent in May from 42.4 percent a month ago. This was also slower than the expected expansion of 29 percent.

Sales, excluding auto fuel, logged an annual growth of 21.7 percent versus 37.7 percent expansion seen in April and economists’ forecast of 27.3 percent.


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