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U.K. Retail Sales Rise Unexpectedly In May

U.K. retail sales increased unexpectedly in May, data from the Office for National Statistics showed Thursday.

Retail sales including auto fuel rose 0.2 percent in May from April when it climbed 0.9 percent. Nonetheless, this was the second consecutive rise in sales and came in contrast to a 0.1 percent fall forecast by economists.

Sales excluding auto fuel also grew by 0.2 percent in May, following a 0.8 percent rise in April. Sales were up for the fourth straight month. Economists had forecast a 0.2 percent drop.

On a yearly basis, overall retail sales volume advanced 4.6 percent in May, the same rate as seen in April and in line with expectations. This was the 26th consecutive annual growth and the longest period of sustained growth since May 2008.

Excluding auto fuel, sales growth slowed to 4.4 percent from 4.6 percent. Sales were forecast to grow 4.3 percent.

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