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UK retail sales bounce back in April despite plummeting consumer confidence 

// UK retail sales rise unexpectedly, as inflation continues to hit consumer confidence
// On a monthly basis, retail sales values jumped by 1.9%, but volumes were 1.4% higher

The UK’s retail sales volumes rebounded with a monthly rise in April, against a backdrop of weakening consumer confidence, data showed on Friday.

Beating market estimates of a slight contraction, retail sales rose by 1.4% last month, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed, reversing a month-on-month fall of 1.2% in March.

The figure was 4.1% above the pre-pandemic levels in February 2020.


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Food store sales were up by 2.8% for the largest contribution to the main reading, largely due to increased spending on alcohol, tobacco and confectionery in supermarkets.

On an annual basis, retail sales decreased 4.9% this April, with the market forecast being minus 7.2%.​​​​​​​

ONS deputy director for Surveys & Economic Indicators Heather Bovill, noted that along with an uplift for supermarkets, off-licenses also reported a boost, “possibly due to people staying in more to save money“.

While retail sales picked up in April, she cautioned that the figures “still show a continued longer term downward trend”.

Ralph Robinson, Head of Retail at technology consultancy BJSS said: “Whilst retail sales rose by 1.4% in April compared to March, if we look to the longer-term trend, sales volumes are actually down 0.3% compared to the previous three months,”

“Retailers looking for some form of respite from today’s ONS figures will be disappointed; after years of turmoil from Brexit to Covid and now the Ukraine conflict, consumer confidence remains low and macroeconomic shocks like high inflation will continue to pile greater pressure on retail sales and margins.”

Year-on-year, sales tumbled 4.9% in April, after growth of 1.3% in March. However, this was not as bad as the 7.2% drop forecast by analysts.

Sales in the three-month period to April fell by 0.3% when compared with the previous three months, continuing the downward trend since summer 2021.

This month, the UK consumer confidence monitor dropped by two points to minus 40 in May, the lowest score since records began in 1974.

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The post UK retail sales bounce back in April despite plummeting consumer confidence  appeared first on Retail Gazette.

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