New study shows
In April, UK retail sales increased by 5.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis from April 2016, when they had decreased 0.9 per cent from the preceding year.
On a total basis, sales rose 6.3 per cent in April, against flat growth in April 2016. The performance is positively distorted by the timing of Easter and the highest since April 2011, another Easter distortion. This pulls the three-month average to two per cent , above the 12-month average of 1.3 per cent.
Over the three-months to April, Food sales increased 2.4 per cent on a like-for-like basis and 3.6 per cent on a total basis.
Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive, British Retail Consortium, said: “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.
“Taking a closer look at the sales figures, 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 focussing 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.”