British retail sales fell by more than expected in May as consumers were hit in the pocket by high inflation, official data showed today. 

Sales by volume dropped by 1.2% last month after jumping by an upwardly-revised 2.5% in April, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement. 

Analysts' consensus forecast had been for a fall of 0.8% in May after warm weather had boosted sales the previous month. 

"Increased retail prices across all sectors seem to be a significant factor in slowing growth" during May, the ONS said in today's release. 

Official data earlier this week showed that British inflation surged in May close to a four-year high at 2.9%, as a Brexit-fuelled slump in the pound pushed up import costs. 

And with wages growth failing to match the rises in inflation, consumers are limiting how much they spend in stores and online. 

The ONS said that retail sales rose 0.9% in May compared with the same month in 2016.

"We have not seen lower growth on the year since April 2013," it added.