24 May 2018
Small growth in this morning’s retail sales for April 2018 gave hope to a spring bounceback. But there was disappointment behind the figures as fuel price increases propped up sales volumes in other sectors.
The key findings from the Retail Statistics showed:
Phil Mullis, Partner and Head of Retail and Wholesale at top-20 UK accountancy firm, Wilkins Kennedy, said: “Compared to last year, the retail sales showed a 1.3% growth in sales volume – but looking back two years ago, where growth was 2.9%, you can see that growth has slowed down.
“We also need to consider the figures in some detail. The 1.3% growth has come from an amalgamation on March and April – because of the fall of Easter Sunday this year. Plus, a significant part of that growth came from a rise in fuel prices, all other sectors experienced little or no increase.
“There is no doubt that retail sales are still flat and the news that big retailers are closing down completely, is a reminder of the threat and the changing times.
“However, there could be some good news on the horizon. Inflation fell to 2.4% during April, so it is unlikely that interest rates will rise this year. That will mean less of a squeeze on spending and consumers will have more cash in their pockets.
“The food and clothing sectors are also seeing record sales figures online. The fashion sector has been leading online sales for a long time, but as we start to see more online retailers, such as Amazon, dabble in the grocery market, there could be further growth to come for online food shopping.
“Looking forward into May, the good weather and Royal Wedding will hopefully bring a much-needed boost to retail sales.”