UK retail sales drop by £1.45bn in May

Clock money 620 x 430UK retail funds saw £342m of net outflows in May, down from £1.1bn of net inflows in April as investors avoided riskier equity and property funds ahead of the EU referendum, data from the Investment Association shows.

Retail sales fell by £1.45bn in May compared to the month earlier, while sales in May were down by £2bn on the same month last year, which saw net retail sales of £1.7bn.

In the month of the EU referendum, fixed income funds saw retail sales of £315m, making it the best seller, the IA data shows.

In contrast, equity funds saw the largest net retail outflow, of £439m, in May, following a larger sellout in April when outflows reached £724m. Similarly, property funds saw outflows of £360m for the same period.

IA interim chief executive Guy Sears says: “Fixed income funds were the most popular amongst UK investors in May as they looked to lower their risk exposure ahead of the EU referendum.

“It was by far the best-selling asset class as a whole, as well as taking up three of the five top selling sectors.”

Among sectors, the sterling corporate bond sector attracted the highest net retail sales, of £264m, the first time it has taken the top spot since May 2012.

UK gilts, which had net retail sales of £127m for the period, entered the IA’s top five sectors for sales for the first time since November 2014.

The worst-selling IA sector was the UK All Companies sector, with net retail outflows of £403m.

Looking at regions, UK equity funds experienced the largest outflows of £316m, followed by Asian and European equity funds at £70m and £66m respectively.

Global equity funds were the only positive selling equity region in May with net retail sales of £103m.