UK retail sales rose by 0.2% in May, a slowdown from a rise of 0.9% in April, after shoppers bought fewer clothes.
The Office for National Statistics said clothing sales were 1.6% down on April’s level, the biggest fall since September 2014. The fall included a drop in internet clothing sales.
Economists had expected retail sales to be flat in May after sales in April were boosted by unusually warm weather.
By contrast, May was cooler than normal.
Food stores had a good month, with volumes up 0.6%, the biggest increase since December. Household goods stores and petrol stations also saw growth.
Some economists have predicted that UK consumer spending could be on track for a strong year as low inflation and rising wages give households more disposable income.