U.K. BRC Retail Sales Rise Most in Five Years on Royal Wedding
U.K. retail sales surged the most in five years last month as public holidays and the warmest April on record spurred spending, the British Retail Consortium said.
Sales rose 5.2 percent in April from a year earlier on a like-for-like basis, which excludes new-store openings, the London-based BRC said in a report today. The reading follows a 3.5 percent annual drop in March, and taken together the data suggest sales over the two months stalled, the BRC said.
Britons stocked up on food and clothing during two consecutive four-day weekends at the end of the month to mark Easter and the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the report said. Spending may falter as consumers are squeezed by faster inflation and the government’s fiscal tightening.
“Easter and the Royal Wedding bank holiday provided a badly needed boost to many retailers,” BRC Director General Stephen Robertson said in the report. Still, “the underlying pressures on the retail sector of climbing costs and depressed consumer spending will be problems for many months to come.”
Food sales rose an annual 2.1 percent in April, boosted by alcoholic drinks including champagne, the BRC said. Non-food sales fell 1.3 percent.
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