April showers blamed as shoppers take the month off


The High Street suffered a washout last month as retail sales volumes fell 2.3 per cent.

Heavy rain and storms were blamed for the decline. Experts had forecast a drop of 0.4 per cent.

Furniture, clothing, sports equipment and games and toys all did badly, the Office for National Statistics said. 

Fashion and footwear stores sales dipped by 5.1 per cent month on month, as demand for spring and summer collections fell. There was just 79 per cent of average sunshine hours in April.

The figures buck the more optimistic mood seen in other economic indicators – a survey by data firm GfK yesterday showed consumer confidence at its highest since late 2021.

Washout: Heavy rain and storms were blamed for the decline as there was just 79 per cent of average sunshine hours in April

Washout: Heavy rain and storms were blamed for the decline as there was just 79 per cent of average sunshine hours in April

Phil Monkhouse, UK country manager at global financial services firm Ebury, warned that even if the sun shines, some shoppers will hold on spending amid uncertainty around the election and interest rates.

Charlie Huggins, at investment broker Wealth Club, said: ‘Prices of most goods and services remain much higher than a couple of years ago. This continues to instil a sense of caution.’





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