Washout for UK retailers as rain spurs sharp drop in April sales

By Thomson Reuters May 24, 2024 | 1:17 AM

(Reuters) – British retail sales slid in April by more than any economist predicted, as wet weather kept shoppers away from clothing retailers and sports stores, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday.

Sales volumes dropped by 2.3% in April alone after a 0.2% fall in March, which was downwardly revised from a flat reading.

A Reuters poll of economists had pointed to a drop of around 0.4% on the month.

“Sales volumes fell across most sectors, with clothing retailers, sports equipment, games and toys stores, and furniture stores doing badly as poor weather reduced footfall,” the ONS said.

The stats agency was confident that it had adjusted the figures for the timing of the Easter holidays.

The earlier date of Easter this year meant spending in the run-up to the holiday took place in March not April, which affected British Retail Consortium data published earlier this month.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce; editing by William James and Paul Sandle)