- Retail sales in the U.K. fell in line with expectations in May, dampening optimism over the country’s economic outlook, official data showed on Thursday.

In a report, the U.K. Office for National Statistics said retail sales decreased by a seasonally adjusted 0.5% last month, in line with forecasts. April retail sales were revised down to a 1% gain from a previously reported rise of 1.3%.

Year-on-year, retail sales rose at an annualized rate of 3.9% in May, below expectations for a 4.3% gain, after rising at a rate of 6.5% in April.

Core retail sales, which exclude automobile sales, declined 0.5% last month, compared to forecasts for a 0.6% drop, after rising 1.7% in the preceding month.

Following the release of the data, the pound held on to gains against the U.S. dollar, with GBP/USD rising 0.09% to trade at 1.7009, compared to 1.7012 before the data.

Meanwhile, European stock markets remained higher. London’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.75%, the Euro Stoxx 50 advanced 0.9%, France’s CAC 40 tacked on 0.8%, while Germany''s DAX rose 0.8%.

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