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Strong sales growth but Easter is the cause - BRC
14
Apr '10
UK retail sales values rose 4.4% on a like-for-like basis from March 2009, when sales had dropped 1.2%. Good Friday and Easter Saturday falling in the March trading period this year but in April 2009 boosted the year-on-year comparison. On a total basis, sales rose 6.6% against only 0.6% growth in March 2009.

For non-food, consumer caution in the face of economic and political uncertainty favoured essentials and replacements over discretionary items. Clothing and footwear slowed but homewares improved, helped by mid-season sales and promotions.

Helen Dickinson, Head of Retail, KPMG, said:

"The timing of the majority of Easter spending, falling into the March 2010 period but in April last year, has boosted this month's figures and makes year-on-year comparisons difficult. Without this uplift a gloomier picture would have emerged – concern about the future continues to weigh on consumers' minds and the outlook for spending remains uncertain. Retailers are fighting hard to encourage shoppers and offer value, which has slowed the rise in shop prices over the month, but how long they will be able to sustain this, given the pressure on margins, is debatable. Women's clothing and footwear were the worst performers due to the ongoing cold spell and comparisons with a sunny start to spring in 2009."

Non-food non-store sales (internet, mail-order and phone sales) in March were 15.9% higher than a year ago compared with 15.5% in February. Sales were mixed and often discount and promotion driven.

British Retail Consortium

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