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Easter boost with bank holiday hopes

Retail sales fell by 0.3% in April - the first fall in 15 months - according to BRC-KPMG, although Easter bolstered food and drink sales.

Paul Martin, KPMG’s UK head of retail, said: “The cost of living crisis came home to roost for retailers in April, with sales growth going into decline for the first time in 15 months.

“Food and drink bounced back with 3% growth in April – largely due to Easter falling later this year.

“With interest rates and inflation rising and the Bank of England warning of a possible recession, the squeeze on disposable household income is starting to have an impact on the high street.

“Against a backdrop of falling consumer confidence, the retail sector has a bumpy time ahead as they face spiraling cost pressures from all directions. Many retailers will have no choice but to raise prices to protect margins, but the longer we see high inflation and real household incomes falling, the more likely it is that consumers will change their spending behaviour, prompting a decline in the health of the retail sector and possibly more casualties on the high street.”

The comments came as Barclaycard reported an 18.1% increases win the year in consumer spending in April.

Barclaycard head of consumer products José Carvalho said: “The impact of rising living costs on consumer spending is starting to show, with a number of categories – including subscriptions, takeaways, and bars, pubs & clubs – seeing less growth than in March as Brits begin to feel the pinch.

“However, the improvements seen by airlines and travel agents are particularly positive, and hopefully point to a recovery in spending on international travel later this year.

“While concerns around rising household bills may continue to hamper spending on non-essential items, the upcoming Platinum Jubilee Weekend and summer months should provide opportunities for Brits to spend on celebrations and make the most of warmer weather.”


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