Retail sales fall in wettest April on record

UK retailers saw a year-on-year decline in sales as excessive rain deterred shoppers from venturing to the High Street.

Like-for-like sales across all sectors fell by 3.3 per cent when compared to the same period last year, according to data from the British Retail Consortium.

The BBC reports that the worst affected sectors included footwear, which recorded its largest decline since January 2008, and women’s and children’s wear.

BRC director general Stephen Roberston blamed the weather and the fact that the UK has re-entered recession.

"The wettest April since records began has put a dampener on retailer’s fortunes," he said.

"Consumers, struggling to balance their household budgets, remain reluctant to spend unless they really have to and the weakening economy is likely to mean people are even more cautious about their finances."

April’s rainfall passed the previous record of 120.3mm, set in April 2000. Met Office figures showed that temperatures across the UK were the lowest for April in 23 years.

Further bad news came when Clinton Cards revealed it would be entering administration. The retailer has asked for trading in its shares to be suspended.

It wasn’t all bad news. Sainsbury’s reported annual sales of 24.5bn, a rise of 6.8 per cent, and stronger-than-expected underlying profits of 712m.

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