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Like-for-like sales up 4.2% in April boosted by strong Easter

UK retail sales benefited from an Easter boost in April as an improvement in the UK housing market helped drive sales of furniture and flooring.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Like-for-like sales up 4.2% in April boosted by strong Easter

UK retail sales benefited from an Easter boost in April as an improvement in the UK housing market helped drive sales of furniture and flooring.

Figures released by the British Retail Consortium and KPMG in their monthly retail sales monitor show that like-for-like sales grew by 4.2% from April 2013 while total sales increased by 5.7%.

The sales growth was exacerbated by this year’s timing of Easter which fell in March last year.

Furniture and flooring was the best performing category, achieving its highest growth since Easter 2006. Strong growth was also recorded in other non-food and children's fashion.

David McCorquodale, head of retail, KPMG, said: "The renewed confidence in the housing market inspired homeowners to invest in their property once again during April. Sales of furniture and flooring increased over the Easter break as consumers not only had the confidence to refresh their décor, but also to invest in big ticket items.”

The BRC said shoppers benefited from retailers’ deals and promotions and were also keen to visit stores to buy their goods over the Easter holiday period.

Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 11.2% in April versus a year earlier while the non-food online penetration rate was 16.1% in April, the lowest since April 2013.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: "There are now clear signs that the retail economy is expanding as retailers offer great new products and competitive prices to consumers who are still watching their spending very closely.

"Customers responded well to great deals and good ranges in children's clothes, DIY products and furniture, although volumes of food sales did not rise significantly. As the Online Retail Sales Monitor shows, customers took advantage of the holidays to visit and buy their products in stores, which is a useful reminder that people still very much enjoy the great experience of shopping in store as well as online."

Including both the positive and the negative distortions from Easter, the 12-month total sales growth now stands at 2.8%, ahead of the average CPI over the 12 months to March at 2.3%.

 

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