Retail sales saw an unexpected boost in the month of April as consumers returned to the high street following the good weather.
According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), retail sales rose 1.6% in April. When compared with March 2018 the quantity bought in April increased across all sectors excluding department stores.
Department stores showed a different monthly picture from all other sectors as the only sector to report a fall in quantities bought, falling 0.9% in April following strong online sales in March.
Online sales as a proportion of all retailing continued to grow year-on-year at 17.3% compared with the 16.1% in April 2017; with food and clothing stores achieving record online proportions.
ONS Head of National Accounts, Rob Kent-Smith said: “Retail sales bounced back in April, as petrol and other sales recovered from the snowfall. But the underlying position remains subdued with the volume of goods sold over the last six months broadly unchanged.
“Increases were seen across all sectors in April, except department stores. Department stores declined following relatively strong sales last month, when their online sales were boosted during the adverse weather.
“Over the longer-term retail sales growth has slowed considerably, with increases in food, household goods and internet retailers being largely offset by declines across all other types of retailing.”