Retail sales fall in wettest ever April

BRC reports worst figures for over a year as rain washes away interest in outdoor goods.
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Like-for-like retail sales values dropped 3.3 per cent in April, according to the British Retail Consortium. It was the worst figures from UK retail since March 2011.

A very rainy April - the wettest since records began – was responsible for the drop, and was up against strong comparative figures from April 2011, when figures were up 5.2 per cent, boosted hot weather and Royal Wedding sales.

Stephen Robertson, director general at the BRC, said: “The wettest April since records began has put a dampener on retailers’ fortunes. 

“It would have been difficult for this April to out-perform April 2011 even with favourable weather, but these numbers are still disappointing. The long Easter weekend was a peak time for many retailers but its position earlier in the month shifted some Easter shopping into March. In addition, April last year was boosted by the Royal Wedding and the accompanying extra day-off for people to shop or celebrate. Retailers are keeping everything crossed that a 2012 feel-good factor from this summer’s events kicks in soon.

Multi-channel sales of non-food items showed slower growth, again up against a relatively strong April 2011. Sales were 9.0 per cent up on a year ago, the weakest increase since November 2011. 

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