UK retail sales rebound
British retail sales unexpectedly rebounded in April, data showed Friday, but remain on a long-term downward trend amid a cost-of-living crisis that saw inflation rocket to a 40-year high.
Total sales volumes jumped 1.4 per cent last month after a 1.2-per cent drop in March, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.
However, sales fell 0.3 per cent in the three months to April compared the previous three months, extending a downward trend in place since summer 2021 according to the ONS.
"Retail sales picked up in April after last month's fall," said Heather Bovill, ONS deputy director for surveys and economic indicators.
"However, these figures still show a continued longer-term downward trend.
"April's rise was driven by an increase in supermarket sales, led by alcohol and tobacco and sweet treats, with off-licences also reporting a boost, possibly due to people staying in more to save money." Inflation rocketed in April to 9.0 per cent, the highest since 1982, driven largely by soaring domestic energy prices.
The squeeze on UK household budgets tightened further in April after a British tax hike as the government looks to improve state coffers battered by Covid support.
"The unexpectedly strong rise in retail sales in April suggests that the cost of living crisis has not caused consumer spending to collapse and means that the economy may have a little more momentum than we thought," noted Capital Economics analyst Nicholas Farr.