The British Retail Consortium, which publishes its figures today say that May was a 'good' month for sales, with clothing and DIY helping total sales to rise 3 pct amongst its retailers.

The BRC which often publishes its results ahead of the Office for National Statistics (ONS) say that its Retail sales monitor covers up to 60 pct of actual sales in the UK and provide a good 'real-time' indicator for economists ahead of ONS results published on or around the 20th day of each month.

Warmer weather as well as the distorted April figures were said to have been contributing factors in boosting clothing, footwear and outdoor DIY and leisure and overal sales were up like-for-like by 0.8 pct.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: "The sunnier second half of May provided a welcome boost to overall sales. The warmer weather combined with discounts and promotions encouraged spending on clothing, footwear, outdoor DIY and gardening.

"The run-up to the World Cup helped sales of televisions, though this was largely discount-driven. With the tournament getting closer, there should be a further uplift and to other football merchandise such as flags and replica kits. After April's dip, food sales growth returned to more normal levels."

The BRC also added that online and mail order sales were still ahead by double digits compared to last year.

Online sales have grown substantially year-on-year with April's figures up 15.9 pct and May figures up 21.9 pct as consumers went online for bargain prices.