British retail sales rose in May from the previous month, helped by demand for food, household goods and petrol, official data showed Thursday.
Sales by volume increased 0.2 percent last month compared with April, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.
That confounded market expectations for a 0.2 percent decline, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg, and followed a downwardly revised 0.9 percent gain in April.
The ONS added that retail sales grew by 4.6 percent in May compared with one year earlier.
"Retail sales rose by a modest looking 0.2 percent in May but this followed a jump of 0.9 percent in April and the underlying trend looks healthy," noted Howard Archer, chief UK economist at research group IHS Global Insight.
"This maintains hopes that decent consumer spending can underpin significantly improved GDP (gross domestic product) growth in the second quarter."