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UK retail sales rebound, cost of lockdown grows

UK retail sales rebound, cost of lockdown grows

Retail sales in the United Kingdom showed a strong rebound in May, yet another report showed that the cost of economic lockdowns to limit the spread of the pandemic grew to a record high, the ONS data released on Friday showed.

Retail sales volume soared 12 percent last month, following a whopping 18 percent fall in April. The figures were nearly double analysts’ forecasts of 6.3 percent rise. However, from a year earlier, sales were 13.1 percent down.

Sales at household goods stores led the advance, with DIY shops and garden centers reopening.

"According to retailers in this sector, consumers appeared to be carrying out home improvements while spending more time than usual in their homes," the ONS said.

Another report reflected the growing cost of lockdowns, as government borrowing mushroomed by 55.2 billion in May, the highest since compiling data for the first time in 1993, bringing the total debt to 1.95 trillion pounds and pushing the debt-to-GDP ratio above 100% at 100.9%.

Yesterday, the Bank of England decided to boost the asset purchase programme by 100 billion pounds to 745 billion pounds to continue stimulating the economy that was hit hard by the corona crisis.

As of 07:40 GMT, the pound traded slightly lower versus the US dollar at 1.2429, set for its second straight weekly decline.

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