Retail sales jump 12 per cent as lockdown eases and shops begin to reopen

Retail sales jumped 12 per cent in May after record lows in April as lockdown restrictions eased and some shops began to reopen, official figures show. Sales remained 13.1 per cent below levels seen in February before the coronavirus pandemic hit, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Food store sales dipped 0.3 per cent in May but remained high after a spike in April caused by restaurants, caterers, schools and food-to-go shops closing down. A number of big retailers are opening stores in phases as they assess the effectiveness of safety measures, as well as the profitability of different sites in a socially distanced environment.