April retail sales rise 4.2% as online growth slows


Retail sales have bounced back 4.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis from April 2013 as retailers benefited from the rebounding housing market.

Spending on furniture and flooring grew by the fastest rate since Easter 2006, according to the British Retail Consortium/KPMG retail sales monitor.

But growth was distorted due to the timing of Easter as the holiday fell in March this year.

12 month sales growth now stands at 2.8 per cent, just above the average inflation figure of 2.3 per cent.

“There are now clear signs that the retail economy is expanding as retailers offer great new products and competitive prices to consumers who are still watching their spending very closely,” said Helen Dickinson, Director General at British Retail Consortium.

It is not unreasonable to suggest that online shopping has provided most, if not all, of UK retail sales growth. Despite a 1.6 per cent sales slow down in April, online sales of non-food products still grew 11.2 per cent in April versus a year earlier as retailers enjoyed an Easter sales boost.

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: “(The online sales fall) is an expected blip and reminds us that when the sun shines and people are on holiday, they are still attracted by the theatre of the store. Now the Easter bank holiday season has passed, I expect online sales to continue unabated.”