Easter bounce for retail sales

The British Retail Consortium has reported UK retail sales values up 5.2% on a like-for-like basis from April 2010. Food, clothing, footwear, outdoor DIY and leisure sales all benefited from the warm weather. Unfortunately, indoor products (particularly furnure and electricals) suffered, with big-ticket items hardest hit and often promotion-led. Non-food non-store (internet, mail-order and phone) sales growth picked up in April. Sales were 13.7% higher than a year ago, recovering from the exceptionally small 7.5% gain in March.

Stephen Robertson, Director General of the BRC, commented: “These sales figures are a relief after the dire sales falls we saw in March but they are not the full picture. The numbers are being compared with an April last year which was a time of uncertainty ahead of the General Election, and which didn’t include the main Easter trading period. Considered together, the results for March and April largely cancel each other out and the overall trend is flat. The underlying pressures on the retail sector of climbing costs and depressed consumer spending will be problems for many months to come.”