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Tills ringing thanks to falling prices and warm weather


Ice cream sellers doing a roaring trade

Ice cream sellers doing a roaring trade

Ice cream sellers doing a roaring trade

April's unseasonally warm weather helped send the cash registers ringing last month as clothes stores saw their best performance for four years thanks to a rush to stock up on summer outfits.

Shoppers hit the high street to take advantage of falling prices, with official figures showing retail sales volumes jumped by 1.2% month-on-month in April.

Sales leapt 4.7% compared with a year earlier - marking the 25th consecutive month of year-on-year growth.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said clothing sales surged by 5.2% by volume between March and April - the biggest rise since April 2011.

The rise took experts by surprise, with most economists pencilling in a 0.4% rise in overall retail sales last month.

It raised hopes that Britain's economic growth can gather pace in the second quarter after a slowdown in the first three months of the year.

Economists say the recent fall in inflation - which turned negative in April for the first time since 1960 - is increasing consumer spending power as shoppers benefit from a welcome pick-up in real wage growth.

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Alan Clarke of Scotiabank said: "If you wanted a demonstration of what 'good deflation' looks like, then UK retail sales data for April is the place to look."