UK Retail Sales Rose 0.5% in April After Rain-Hit March



By Ed Frankl

 

U.K. retail sales rebounded more than expected on month in April, recovering from a rain-hit March that affected non-food sales, with easing energy prices also lifting some of the pressure on household spending.

Retail-sales volumes ticked up 0.5% on month, compared with a downwardly revised fall of 1.2% in March, data from the Office for National Statistics showed Friday.

The figure is a little stronger than the 0.3% rise expected by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

Sales volumes rose 0.8% in the three months to April compared with the previous three months, the highest rate since August 2021, the ONS said.

Non-food stores’ sales volumes rose by 1.0% in April, rebounding as poor weather conditions throughout March affected trading, the ONS said.

Sales volumes at food stores rose by 0.7% on month, following a fall of 0.8% in March, suggesting some cost-of-living pressures could be lifting. However, food sales were still 2.7% below their precoronavirus levels in February 2020, according to the ONS.

High inflation is still expected to take a toll on consumers. Overall inflation was 8.7% in April, easing from March but nevertheless driven by food inflation at 19.3%.

Meanwhile, fuel sales dipped by 2.2% in April, the ONS said, affected by strikes, which restricted travel in the month.

 

Write to Ed Frankl at edward.frankl@wsj.com

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