Retail sales fell by 2.4% in April on a like-for-like basis compared to the same month last year. On a total basis sales were down 1.3%
The figures published by the British Retail Consortium and KPMG in their monthly shop price index were negatively distorted by the inclusion of the build-up to Easter in March this year. When the distorting effect of Easter is removed, the three month average showed the strongest underlying growth since last June.
Helen Dickinson, BRC director general, said: “April witnessed a solid performance for fashion and beauty retailers; particularly welcome following a disappointing Autumn/Winter season. While the early Easter this year heavily distorted April’s figures, across all categories, we see the best three month average year-on-year growth since June of last year; a clear indication that confidence among consumers is slowly improving and that despite profitability being under intense pressure due to changes in shopping habits and promotional activity, retail remains a robust pillar of the economy.”
The BRC said total non-food sales grew by 3.2% over the three months to April with homewares the only category to show a dip in sales.
Meanwhile, total food sales edged up 0.4% over the three month period.
Looking at online, sales of non-food products in the UK grew by 15.4% in April versus a year earlier, when they had grown by 11.2%. This was the best growth since October 2014.