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UK: Poor weather and early Easter weigh on April retail sales

May 9, 2024 United Kingdom
UK: Poor weather and early Easter weigh on April retail sales
UK retail sales fell by 4 by 4.0% year-on-year in April, against a gain of 5.1% in April 2023. An early Easter and poor weather dampened sales, particularly for clothing and footwear, the BRC said
According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC), UK retail sales experienced a slight setback in April 2024, falling by 4.0% year-on-year as compared to a 5.1% increase in the same month of last year. This decline falls below the three-month (0.5%) and twelve-month (2.2%) average growth trends. Correcting for the distortion caused by the earlier timing of Easter, the average growth for March and April together was 0.2%.

Dismal weather and disappointing sales led to a depressing start to Spring for retailers, even accounting for the change in timing of Easter. People delayed typical Spring purchases despite retailers’ attempts to entice customers with heavy discounts. A dull, wet April dampened sales growth for clothing and footwear, especially outdoor sportswear, as well as DIY and garden furniture”, commented Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium.

Non-food sales in the UK dropped by 2.8% year-on-year in the three months ending in April 2024. This decline is steeper than the ongoing 12-month average decline of 1.5% and reverses the 1.2% growth seen in April 2023. Both in-store and online sales experienced declines in April, as compared to the previous year.

In the three months to April, in-store sales fell by 2.4% year-on-year, reversing the growth trend of 3.9% in April 2023. This is a sharper fall than the ongoing 12-month average decline of 0.7%. Online sales fell by 5.5% year-on-year in April, compared with a fall of 3.6% in April 2023. This is higher than the 3-month and 12-month average falls of 3.5% and 3.0% respectively.

Many retailers are hoping for brighter sales over the summer months as social events ramp up, and consumer confidence could improve with a potential cut in interest rates”, Dickinson added.


Image Credits: myersclark.co.uk


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