Sunshine and Easter boost April retail sales

Retailers should not celebrate yet despite seeing the strongest April sales figures in three years, the British Retail Consortium has warned.

Retailers should not “celebrate” yet despite seeing the strongest April sales figures in three years, the British Retail Consortium has warned.

A sunny April, which this year included Easter, boosted retail sales by 4.6% compared to April last year when “sales were very weak in the cold wet weather after a March Easter”, the BRC reported this morning.

Both food and non-food sales were boosted, with clothing, footwear and outdoor leisure showing strong increases, although so-called big-ticket homewares and furniture sales “remained difficult,” meaning sales for Feb to April fell overall by 2.9%.

Food sales grew 5.3% over February to April compared to last year as grocery shopping habits remain steady despite the recession.

Joanne Dennery-Finch, chief executive of IGD which supplies the food data, says: “While many shoppers are delaying the purchase of big-ticket items, nearly three-quarters told IGD in a recent poll that they are ‘carrying on as normal’ with their grocery shopping – although of course they are seeking out the best deals and promotions, shopping around and scrutinising value.”

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