Data from British Retail Consortium (BRC) shows that like-for-like retail sales rose 5.6 per cent in April, compared with a fall of 0.9 per cent on the previous year.
The BRC’s retail sales monitor reveals that total UK sales gained 6.3 per cent in April, their highest level since Easter last took place in April in 2011, showing that the late Easter this year brought a much needed boost to slowing spending.
Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, BRC says: “As expected, the Easter holidays provided the welcome boost to retail sales, which goes some way to making up for the disappointing start to the year. That said, the positive distortion from the timing of Easter was largely responsible for the month’s growth and looking to the longer-term signs of a slowdown, the outlook isn’t as rosy.
Ms Dickinson went on to explain that the sales figures show that consumer spend on food and non-food items is diverging.
“Food categories continue to contribute the most weight to overall growth, although food inflation has a part to play in this. Meanwhile, consumers are being more cautious in their spending towards non-food products and focusing more on value priced lines.
“Shop prices are still down overall although other items of consumer spending are increasing headline inflation and hence driving a tightening of purse strings. Although today’s figures do indicate that consumers are still willing to spend, with a cocktail of rising costs and slowing wage growth as the backdrop, conditions for consumers will get tougher. The next Government needs to deliver a plan that puts consumers first in its economic policies and the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.”
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