Food sales slowed markedly in May after strong growth the previous month – but continued to easily out-perform non-food.

New figures from the British Retail Consortium showed food sales were up 1.9% year on year, compared to a fall of 2.1% across all categories.

The figures show total food sales up 4.4% year on year over a three-month weighted average from March-May, buoyed by the Royal Wedding and the spate of bank holidays.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said the figures showed Government cuts were hitting consumer confidence.

“This new evidence of weak spending shows how important it is to support this soft patch in the recovery by keeping interest rates low," he said.

“For the first time in a number of months we have a clearer picture of the underlying trend without the distortions of the timings of Easter and bank holidays,” said KPMG head of retail Helen Dickinson.

“It doesn’t make for happy reading.”

Read more
Sunshine and Royal Wedding get food sales back on track (10 May 2011)
Daily Bread: Making hay while the sun shines (10 May 2011)