British shoppers stepped up their spending last month at the quickest pace in years, seemingly unconcerned about fast-rising inflation reducing their purchasing power.
A spell of good weather apparently encouraged people to spend, spend, spend according to the Office for National Statistics citing retailers. Easter falling in April this year could also be a factor.
Retail sales volumes jumped by 2.3 percent in April compared with the previous month. That was more than twice what economists had forecast and a big rebound from March when sales fell 1.4 percent.
“April’s sharp rebound in retail sales … buoys hopes that consumer spending will not hamper UK GDP growth as it clearly did in the first quarter,” said Howard Archer, chief UK economist at IHS Markit.
Retail sales volumes were 4.0 percent higher than a year earlier after 2.0 percent annual growth in March.
Not everyone benefited – earlier this month Next, Britain’s most successful clothing chain in recent years, lowered its annual profit forecast, based on tough trading conditions and self-inflicted problems with its product ranges.
In response to the information released by the Office for National Statistics the pound rose in value, it went above $1.30 for the first time since last September.