UK retail sales lower than expected due to bad weather
UK retail sales in April were 1.3% lower than in March as bad weather continued to impact consumer spending.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that sales had reduced from the previous month, but retail sales volumes from April were 0.5% higher than a year earlier.
The ONS also said that sales of outdoor equipment, such as garden furniture and barbecue food were especially hard hit last month, following the rain and cool temperatures.
Total food sales also dropped last month, by 4.1% – the largest monthly fall in almost two years.
A spokesperson from the ONS said: “Feedback from large food store retailers suggested that the cold weather continued to impact on sales.
“In particular, the weather hindered sales within their spring and summer ranges.”
Analysts had expected little or no monthly decline in retail sales.
UK retailer Mothercare and Halfords have been hit hard by the decline in sales.
Mothercare has released figures showing another big loss over the last financial year. The retail group which specialises in children’s equipment and clothing recorded a pre-tax loss of £21.5m up to the end of March.
International sales grew by 5.6%, however, sales in the UK continued to fall, dropping by 3.6%. The group has 1,300 stores worldwide, but closed 56 UK stores last year.
Shares in car parts and bike retailer Halfords have dramatically dropped after they announced a drop in annual profits.
Halfords’ pre-tax profits until the end of March fell by almost 25% to £71m compared with a year earlier. Halfords said trading was ‘demanding’ and announced a new investment plan including store revamps. The investment will affect short term profitability, and shares fell by 14% in early morning trading.
Total revenues increased by 1% over the year to £871m.