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Published on May 9th, 2017 | by The GC Team

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April retail sales benefit from late Easter

UK retail sales increased by 6.3% on a total basis in April as a result of positive distortion by the timing of Easter. The figure was the highest since April 2011, another Easter distortion, and pushes the 3-month average to 2.0%, above the 12-month average of 1.3%.

Like-for-like sales rose 5.6%.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the 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 focusing more on value priced lines.”

Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail at KPMG, commented: “Looking ahead, retailers need to ensure that this month’s boost doesn’t lull them into a false sense of security. The retail landscape is changing fast and as such, agility and the ability to manage costs will remain critical.”

Online sales of Non-Food products in the UK grew 10.3% in April versus a year earlier, when they fell by 6.6%. This is the fastest growth since November, above the 3-month and 12-month averages of 8.2% and 9.3% respectively.

The BRC said that consumer electronics continue to be online bestsellers.

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