British retail sales sank in May, official data showed today, sounding a downbeat note on the Brexit-facing economy ahead of an interest rate decision from the Bank of England. 

Sales by volume sank by 0.5% from April, when they had dipped by 0.1%, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement. 

Volumes slid as volatile weather persuaded many people to delay the purchase of summer clothing, according to the ONS. The sizeable drop was in line with market expectations.

"The fall on the month was driven mainly by a 4.5% fall in clothing sales as unusually warm weather in April was followed by the reverse in May," noted Capital Economics analyst Andrew Wishart.

"That might have put people off from purchasing summer clothes. And with June being particularly wet, a big bounce back seems unlikely," he added. 

The Bank of England decided to maintain its key interest rate at 0.75% as UK inflation eases and amid ongoing concern over the economic impact of Brexit.

The decision comes one day after news that Britain's annual inflation has dipped to the Bank of England's 2% target rate.