British customers are buying unexpectedly in May after the country gradually relaxed its coronavirus lockdown and online sales had a smash hit showing the economic recovery after a bad crash in the month of March and April.

As per the official data, public borrowing had hit a record high with high government expenditure and debt passed 100 % of the economic output.

Official data showed sales volumes in May jumped by a record 12.0% after a historic 18.0% slump in April – a rise at the top end of economist forecasts in a Reuters poll but which still left sales 13.1% down on a year ago.

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said on Thursday that the economy appeared to be on course to shrink less in the first half of the year than he had feared last month, though this did not necessarily mean there would be a strong rebound.

Britain closed non-essential retailers to the public in late March and only a small number such as garden centers were able to reopen in May.