Spending on clothes boosts April retail sales

Commenting on the latest retail sales figures for April released by the Office of National Statistics, Andrew Westbrook, RSM's head of retail said:

‘The last-minute delay to Brexit helped encourage UK consumers to loosen the purse strings in April after a period of hoarding cash. When compared with the previous year, the quantity of goods bought in April 2019 increased by 5.2 per cent, with growth across all sectors except household goods.

‘Consumers were lured back in part by retailers discounting goods that had been stockpiled in preparation for Brexit. The good weather also helped to boost clothes sales as shoppers sought to refresh their summer wardrobes, with online only retailers benefitting the most.

‘Looking ahead, the pressure remains to drive down stock levels amid the continuing challenges facing the high street operators, the effects of which are now extending to the commercial landlords. Many have been forced to accept lower rents to keep units occupied and to write down property valuations.  

‘Many retailers will be hoping for a resolution to the current political impasse so they can return to more normal seasonal trading, but the reality is that they may be waiting some time.’