LONDON  - British retail sales volumes rose 2.9% in May, rising sharply from a revised 1.8% fall in April when heavy rain kept shoppers away, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday.

Economists polled by Reuters had on average forecast sales volumes would increase by 1.5% on the month.

Sales volumes in May were 1.3% higher than a year earlier, after a revised 2.3% fall in April.

British shoppers have been squeezed by high inflation which only returned to the BoE's 2% target last month after exceeding it for nearly three years.

Average wages are now rising faster than inflation and consumer sentiment in June had recovered to its highest since November 2021, according to figures from Britain's longest-running consumer confidence survey earlier on Friday.

(Reporting by David Milliken and Suban Abdulla; editing by William James)