Retail sales growth has shot up on the back of strong Easter trading.
According to official estimates, retail sales were 6.9 per cent higher in the year to April, up from last's month reading of 4.2 per cent growth.
That's the strongest growth in sales seen since almost 10 years ago, in May 2004. Consensus analyst forecasts suggested we'd see a rise in annual growth to 5.2 per cent in April.
Capital Economics expected the Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures to show that "consumer spending growth remained strong at the beginning of the second quarter," while HSBC analysts predicted a "good bounce from the March numbers, supported by rising confidence and lower inflation".
The most recent British Retail Consortium (BRC) survey reported that there had been a strong Easter for retailers, taking year on year sales growth to a three year high in April. The BRC saw sales values 4.2 per cent higher on the year in April, up from a fall of 1.7 per cent in March.
Those BRC figures are not seasonally adjusted, and may have been affected by the late timing of Easter this year. Investec's Victoria Clarke highlights that the seasonal adjustment present in the official ONS figures has meant that March showed greater resilience than the BRC readings for the same month.