The hot weather helped boost retail sales by 1.9% last month, according to the British Retail Consortium.

Some warm sunny days in May compared with very wet weather the year before boosted sales growth, but underlying trade remained tough, with widespread discounting, the BRC's monthly retail sales monitor found.

“After several mostly miserable months, warm sunny weather finally arrived in early May and helped lift customers' gloom, but we are not out of the woods yet,” warned BRC director general Stephen Robertson.