Wettest April 'hits retail sales'

image captionAfter warm weather in March encouraged shoppers, April was a damp squib

UK retail sales in April were hurt by the wet weather, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said.

Like-for-like sales fell 3.3% from the same month last year, led by women's and children's wear.

Worst hit were sales of footwear, which recorded their largest decline since January 2008.

There was more gloomy news for the High Street from Clinton Cards, which said its largest supplier was set to begin steps to put it into administration.

As a result, Clinton Cards said it had asked for trading in its shares to be suspended.

However, there was better news from supermarket group Sainsbury's, which reported a 6.8% rise in annual sales to £24.5bn, with underlying profit up by a stronger-than-expected 7% to £712m.

'Cautious' consumers

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: "The wettest April since records began has put a dampener on retailers' fortunes."

The monthly rainfall last month passed the record 120.3mm set in 2000, making it the wettest April since records began.

And temperatures across the UK in April were the lowest in 23 years, according to Met Office figures.

It also comes after it was confirmed that the UK re-entered recession in the first three months of the year.

"Consumers, struggling to balance their household budgets, remain reluctant to spend unless they really have to and the weakening economy is likely to mean people are even more cautious about their finances."

But at department stores, April was a better month for many as the wet weather boosted the number of shoppers seeking refuge.

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