LONDON — Retail sales in Britain slipped back in May as people ventured out to spend money at restaurants and pubs, after the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, official figures showed Friday.
The Office of National Statistics found that retail sales during May were 1.4% lower than the previous month, when they surged 9.2% after shops selling nonessential items were allowed to reopen after a monthslong shutdown.
It said the biggest downward contribution came from food sales, which fell 5.7% as restrictions on the hospitality sector were eased further to allow people to gather inside. Pubs and restaurants previously were allowed to serve customers only outdoors.
Analysts said the monthly decline does not represent the start of a slowdown in the British recovery from its biggest economic contraction in more than 300 years. In 2020, the British economy contracted around 10% as a result of pandemic restrictions.
“Retail sales, unlike some other parts of the economy, have been pretty…