Retailers suffer post-Easter sales slowdown

British Retail Consortium says like-for-like figures fell 2.4% despite leap in sales of summer clothing and tanning products during sunniest April on record.

Demand for summer clothes and tanning indoor lotion products during the sunniest April on record were not enough to stem a drop in retail sales last month as retailers suffered a post-Easter slowdown as industry figures show that sales fell 2.4 per cent on a like-for-like basis from April 2014, the weakest performance for three years.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said its figures were distorted by Easter falling earlier this year than last year and it sought to highlight a stronger underlying picture for sales than comparisons with April 2014 would suggest.

Sales were up 0.6 per cent on a year ago when averaged over the latest three months of February to April. That was slower than 1.3 per cent growth in January to March – also distorted by an Easter bounce this March – but it beat the underlying sales performance seen throughout the second half of 2014.

The BRC director general, Helen Dickinson, took the figures as a “clear indication that confidence among consumers is slowly improving”. She also highlighted the bright spots among last month’s figures, including for clothing retailers helped by the sunniest April on record.