UK Consumer Confidence rose two points to -7 in May, according to GfK, with four of the five measures increasing, as contrasting views on personal finances versus the wider economy continued to keep the Overall Index Score in negative territory.

The Major Purchase Index decreased two points to +1 – eight points lower than May 2017.

Joe Staton, client strategy director at GfK, says: “UK consumers are feeling more upbeat this month with a two-point rise in the Overall Index Score. The scores for personal finances (both for the past year and next year) are positive.

"However, consumers remain resolutely downbeat about the general state of the economy. These negative economic scores are depressing the overall index and preventing it from breaking out into positive territory. We have been at zero or negative for 29 months now. When will the strong jobs market and rising real incomes, coupled with ongoing low interest rates and low levels of headline inflation, have an impact?

"Meanwhile, there’s little motivation to spend, as seen by a two-point drop in the Major Purchase Index. With UK retail sales falling at their sharpest rate since the mid-90s, tough trading conditions for Britain's hard-pressed retail sector continue to take their toll. Shoppers are still not showing signs of a willingness to splash the cash. Will this self-imposed austerity remain the hallmark of pre-Brexit Britain in the run-up to March 2019 and beyond?”