Early Easter sees April homewares fall
Homewares sales fell in April, with the early Easter distorting sales patterns.
UK retail sales decreased by 2.4% on a like-for-like basis from April 2014, when they had increased 4.2% on the previous year. On a total basis, sales were down 1.3%, against a 5.7% rise in April 2014, according to the British Retail Consortium-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.
The three-month average saw an increase of 1.9%, the highest growth since June 2014.
‘With an early Easter pulling sales forward into March, top-line trends for April inevitably look pretty weak. However, taking the three months to April to eliminate seasonality, this is a bit of an April fool, as retail sales have continued their steady rise through the year and increased by 1.9%. In particular, the sunniest April since records began gave a boost to fashion sales, driving demand for spring/summer clothing and footwear with consumers also taking advantage of Easter sales to bag a bargain,’ says David McCorquodale, KPMG head of retail.
‘Food sales for the quarter grew by less than half a percent but this is still positive compared to the declines felt through most of 2014. Like for like grocery sales continue to decline but the long road to recovery appears to be taking some direction. Loking ahead, the birth of Princess Charlotte together with the promise of more warm weather on the horizon will boost consumers’ feel good factor and encourage spending as we head into the summer months. Added to this, with David Cameron firmly in place at No. 10, retailers will be looking to ensure he fulfils his promise not to increase VAT and also to review business rates. It is also hoped that a stable government can allow consumer confidence to flourish.’
‘While the early Easter this year heavily distorted April¡¦s figures, across all categories, we see the best three month average year-on-year growth since June of last year; a clear indication that confidence among consumers is slowly improving and that despite profitability being under intense pressure due to changes in shopping habits and promotional activity, retail remains a robust pillar of the economy,’ says Helen Dickinson, BRC director general.
‘Among the non-food categories, the only ones which saw a dip were in homewares, which was to be expected due to the timing of Easter.