UK like-for-like retail sales increased by 5.6% in April, on the back of a later Easter than last year, according to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.
The sales boost compares with a 0.9% like-for-like drop recorded in April 2016, while total sales last month rose by 6.3%, the highest since April 2011.
Food sales over the three months to April increased by 2.4% on a like-for-like basis and 3.6% on a total basis.
However, the outlook for retail sales “isn’t as rosy,” warned BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson.
“As expected, the Easter holidays provided the welcome boost to retail sales, which goes some way to making up for the disappointing start to the year,” she said.
“That said, the positive distortion from the timing of Easter was largely responsible for the month’s growth and looking to the longer-term signs of a slowdown, the outlook isn’t as rosy.
“Shop prices are still down overall although other items of consumer spending are increasing headline inflation and hence driving a tightening of purse strings. Although today’s figures do indicate that consumers are still willing to spend, with a cocktail of rising costs and slowing wage growth as the backdrop, conditions for consumers will get tougher.”
She urged the next government to deliver a plan that puts consumers first in its economic policies and the forthcoming Brexit negotiations.