Thursday, April 25, 2024
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Retail sales bounce back

Retail sales volumes jumped 2.3% in April from the month before, 4% higher than last year and helped by warmer weather, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

April’s rebound contrasted with March, when sales saw the biggest fall in seven years.

The stronger-than-expected rise in sales pushed the value of the pound above $1.30 to its highest level since September last year.

Owing to recent rises in inflation, the amount spent in shops and online was 6.2% higher in the three months to April compared with a year ago – the biggest rise in 15 years.

The ONS did not say whether inflation pressures would continues to affect sales during the rest of the year. “We need a longer series to properly determine a pattern,” it said.

The retail sales figures come a day after separate ONS figures indicated that wages were rising slower than inflation for first time since mid-2014.

Alex Marsh, MD of Close Brothers Retail Finance, said its data indicated “a particular increase in sales in the furniture sector, which was driven by [Easter] Bank Holiday Monday shopping”. However, he added that inflationary pressures meant shoppers could struggle to buy big ticket items, such as white goods, without stores offering more credit.

 

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