UK retail sales 'fell in April'

Shopper enters store April was a slower month for department stores, the BRC says

UK retail sales fell in April owing to the timing of Easter and uncertainty from consumers ahead of the general election, figures indicate.

The total value of sales fell by 0.2% in April from a year earlier, with the like-for-like drop at 2.3%, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said.

Food sales fell back, but this was distorted because of the early Easter compared with last year.

The figures for this year only included Easter Sunday and Monday.

The previous month's figures had been boosted by the inclusion of the first two days of the long Easter weekend, and had showed an increase of 4.4% in like-for-like sales.

Start Quote

There is no question customers are more willing to spend than 12 months ago but they are still nervous”

End Quote Stephen Robertson Director general, British Retail Consortium

The three-month average, which diluted the Easter timing distortions, showed that like-for-like sales were up by 1.6% on a year earlier. The total value of sales was up 3.8%.

"April's sales were down on a year ago, but that's because of the Easter effect. This April's trading period only included the last two days of Easter, while last year's had the entire build-up and holiday weekend," said Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC.

"Both food and non-food sales growth slipped back this April because people had already done their Easter spending in the previous month."

But he said that there had been "caution" among consumers ahead of the general election. Many had simply been shopping for essentials or to replace items, rather than embarking on discretionary spending.

"There is no question customers are more willing to spend than 12 months ago but they are still nervous," Mr Robertson said.

"People need to know how a new government's moves to tackle the deficit will affect their incomes and jobs. Even if the measures are tough, knowing what they are could be better than the current uncertainty."

The BRC said April was a tough month for electronics retailers. It added that sales of men's and children's clothing slowed, and homeware trading was below levels of a year earlier.

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Business stories



  • Nigel Farage (left) and Douglas CarswellWho's next?

    The Tory MPs being tipped to follow Carswell to UKIP

  • A painting of the White House on fire by Tom FreemanFinders keepers

    The odd objects looted by the British from Washington in 1814

  • Sailing rock in Death ValleyRock and roll

    Mystery of Death Valley's 'sliding rocks' solved - and more tales

  • Chris and Regina Catrambone with their daughter Maria LuisaSOS

    The millionaires who rescue people at sea

  • Plane7 days quiz

    What unusual offence got a Frenchman thrown off a plane?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.