Retail sales rise as warmer weather returns
Retail sales have seen a 1.8 per cent increase in the three months up to April, coinciding with the return of the warmer weather.
The majority of consumer spending was online, with web retailing recording a 9.4 per cent increase in volumes in a record quarter for the online sector.
Online shopping accounted for 18.7 per cent of total retailing over April, a one per cent increase on the previous year.
The numbers suggest that consumer sentiment remains undeterred by lingering economic uncertainty surrounding Brexit.
The Office for National Statistics revealed that clothes, textiles and footwear retailers saw a 2.2 per cent increase in sales, while household goods providers and department store chains decreased, seeing their numbers decline by 2.9 per cent and 0.5 per cent respectively.
The late falling of Easter and retail discounting that came with it may have had a strong influence on the figures according to Duncan Brewer, a retail partner at management consultants Oliver Wyman.
Brewer said that as “consumers went out and spent money over the sunny holiday period”, an increase in retail sales was an obvious outcome.
However, with online retailers the main beneficiaries, the news provided no respite for the country's high streets, as Brewer stated that they "continue to be challenged by the shift toward online retail”.