Good weather boosts retail sales for April

Good weather may have helped stimulate growth in retail sales for April, with all retail sectors seeing an increase in spending over the past 12 months, according to new figures.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) April retail sales bulletin showed that the quantity bought (volume) increased by 2.3 per cent over March, and by four per cent compared with April 2016.

April also saw increases in the amount spent (value), with the largest contributions to volume and value coming from non-food stores. This return to growth followed a period of quarter-on-quarter contraction and anecdotal evidence from retailers suggests good weather may have contributed.

Since 2010, there had been a near constant increase in the amount spent, slowing slightly throughout 2015 to the middle of 2016, and returning to much stronger growth.

However, in recent months average store prices increased at a strong rate, which had not been seen since 2010.

On the month, average prices fell by 0.2 per cent in April.

Online sales also contributed to the growth, with an average weekly spend online of £1 billion, which was an increase of 19 per cent when compared with April 2016.

The amount spent online accounted for 15.6 per cent of all retail spending, excluding fuel, compared with 14 per cent in April 2016.