A bit of good weather works wonders, and May's weather was not bad. Add in a recovery in diesel and petrol sales following the panic-buying distortion and the retail sales numbers were remarkably good, up 1.4% in volume terms May over April, 0.9% excluding the fuel effect.
Compared with a year earlier, total sales were up by 2.4% on a year earlier, or 3% excluding fuel (the old way of recording retail sales growth). The three-monthly picture probably gives the best guide but that still shows sales excluding fuel up 1.9% on a year earlier. Falling inflation is easing the squeeze on consumers.