Late Easter spurs UK retail to biggest monthly increase since April 2006

UK retail sales have registered their biggest monthly increase in 11 years thanks to a late Easter, according to the British Retail Consortium.

The organisation’s KPMG retail sales monitor rose 5.6 per cent in April from a year earlier, up from a one per cent decline in March.

This was the strongest result since April 2006.

BRC has noted that the performance was distorted by the timing of Easter this year.

Over the three months to April, non-food retail rose by 0.3 per cent while online sales of non-food products were up by 8.2 per cent over the same period. In store sales fell 1.3 per cent.

Helen Dickson, chief executive of BRC, said: “Shop prices are still down overall although other items of consumer spending are increasing headline inflation and hence driving a tightening of purse strongs.

“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.”

Paul Martin, head of retail at KPMG, added: “April’s sales provided a brief period of respite for retailers following a relentless start to the year.

“However, much of the rise was driven by the timing of Easter and the growing inflationary pressures the sector is facing, rather than a sudden upswing in consumer confidence.”

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