Belfast Telegraph

Tills ringing thanks to falling prices and warm weather

By Holly Williams

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.

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."

Belfast Telegraph