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Like-for-like UK retail sales fell back in May to end a 26-month run of positive growth, according to figures from BDO.

BDO’s High Street Tracker for May found like-for-like sales fell 1.5% in May from a base of 14% growth in the same month last year.

Total in-store LFLs grew by 1% during the month, but following two positive months, total non-store LFLs fell into the red, down 3.3%

Despite a modest fall in CPI inflation, LFL sales remain well below price growth, BDO noted.

LFL sales were generally negative throughout May, which this year included an additional bank holiday to mark the coronation of King Charles III, with sales down in three of the month’s four weeks.

BDO said the month’s three bank holiday weekends may have contributed to reduced spending, as consumers potentially prioritised holiday or experiential spending over retail shopping.

Appetite for spending may also have played a part, as research suggests consumers may be adapting their behaviour in light of high, sticky inflation.

In addition, the Bank of England has signalled further possible near time rises in the BoE base rate, contributing to pressure on household budgets and therefore discretionary spending.

However, footfall growth was positive throughout May, exceeding 3% growth in every week except for week two, which BDO said was possibly affected by festivities marking the coronation.

Buoyed by the spring bank holiday weekend and several days of warm weather, week four returned the month’s strongest footfall, which was up 5.5%, driven by high street traffic which was up 8.6% year on year

Morning update

Fuel, food and feeds distributer NWF Group will post full-year profit above market expectations, following a strong second half of trading.

Updating the market this morning, the group said the strong performances from all businesses in the first half was sustained through the second half,

Consequently, full-year headline profit before tax is now anticipated to be ahead of the current market expectation and in excess of £19m.

Net cash at the year-end is also higher than previous expectations as a result of the stronger trading result, ongoing disciplined cash management across the group and some positive working capital movements.

In fuels, it said volumes recovered in the second half as the team focused on increasing commercial business.

Food demand has continued to be robust with storage close to capacity and increased outloads supported by improved operating efficiency.

It also saw solid demand for ruminant feed and ancillary products across the year supported by a strong milk price, with the business effectively managing commodity cost volatility and inflationary cost increases.

Meanwhile, the group has completed the renewal of its banking facilities with NatWest Group for a three-year term, with an option to extend by two years.

The facilities of £61m comprise an invoice discounting facility of £50m, a revolving credit facility of £10m and an overdraft of £1m, with a further £20m available to support the development strategy of the group.

CEO Richard Whiting commented: “We have delivered a very strong result for the Group and it’s great to report that all three divisions have performed ahead of expectations in spite of the inflationary and cost of living challenges. The Group is well positioned with a net cash position and new banking facilities to further develop and grow.”

Diageo has confirmed the appointment of Debra Crew to the permanent role of CEO following her stepping into the interim CEO role on Monday, amid the illness and subsequent death of Sir Ivan Menezes.

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 is flat at 7,599pts.

Risers include McBride, back up 3.1% to 27.9p, Wynnstay, up 1.6% to 465p and Bakkavor, up 1.1% to 96p.

Fallers include Glanbia, down 2% to €13.35, Fever-Tree, down 1.8% to 1,342.5p and DS Smith, down 1.5% to 311.9p. 

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 closed yesterday down 0.3% to 7,599.7pts.

Risers included PayPoint, up 6.5% to 443.5p, THG, up 2.3% to 63.5p, SSP Group, up 1.9% to 272p, Nichols, up 1.8% to 1,025p and Domino’s Pizza Group, up 0.9% to 280.8p.

Fallers include McBride, down 6.9% to 27p, Just Eat, down 5% to 1,094p, Tate & Lyle, down 4.2% to 759p, Sainsbury’s, down 3.8% to 267.5p, Fever-Tree, down 2.4% to 1,367p and C&C Group, down 2.3% to 138.8p.