Retail sales hit by early Easter and cold spring

Kasmira Jefford
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RETAIL sales declined in April, dented by Easter falling a month earlier this year and the cold weather at the start of the month.

April like-for-like sales were down 2.2 per cent compared with the same month last year when sales were washed out by heavy rain, figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and consultants KPMG revealed this morning.

Total spend slipped 0.6 per cent year-on-year, against a one per cent decline in April 2012.

“On the surface these are really poor figures but they’re hiding another respectable month. The fact that the boost from Easter didn’t fall in April this year hit food sales in particular,” said BRC director general Helen Dickinson.

“But, taking away the Easter distortion, this was actually a better month than March, especially for non-food sales,” she added.

The three month weighted average, which smooths out the effect of the timing of Easter, shows total retail sales rose by 2.6 per cent from February to April.