Published on 23 - May - 2012
BRC reports April "washout", but household goods saw 3.6% boostNew figures released by the Office for National Statistics show the sales volume for household goods retailers saw the biggest increase since January 2011, but retail overall suffered a 0.4% dip in April compared with the same time last year.
The ONS reported a 1.3% increase in the value of sales in the household retail sector and a 3.6% rise in sales volume. Average prices were estimated to show deflation of 1.6%, the largest fall in prices since January 2009. The statistics body also pointed out that, of the average weekly household goods sales in April (£0.6bn), 5.9% were made via the internet, amounting to £34.4m.
Reacting to the report, the BRC described it as "a tough month" for household retailers, pointing out "long-standing pressures on customers' spending power continue to put people off buying goods that are not immediate needs."
The retail association said the latest report confirmed that the wet weather had had a negative effect on April sales, adding the recent inflation figures indicated retailers were "discounting heavily to shift unsold unseasonal stock."
BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: "This is not just about the price of petrol. Miserable weather sums up the mood of many customers and compounded long-standing difficulties for retailers, particularly those trying to sell clothing and shoes. Interest in summer fashion and outdoor products has been good in March's sun but April was a washout.
"Falling inflation offers some hope for customers but disposable incomes are still dropping and people are not spending on things that aren't immediate needs. Retailers are hoping the return of the sun in the last few days and the build-up to this summer's big events produces a much-needed lift in the public mood, but a fundamental turnaround remains illusory."
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