Retail volumes fell again in April as wet spring weather held back footfall.

Retail sales volumes dropped 2.3% across most sectors in April, following a fall of 0.2% in March, according to the Office of National Statistics. 

Damp spring weather hampered footfall during the month and volumes suffered across clothing, sports, games, toy and furniture retailers.

Compared to the prior three months, sales volumes during the three months to April 2024 rose 0.7% and fell 0.8% for the same period the year before. 

Volumes fell across most sectors, with non-food store sales volumes dropping 4.1% during the month, the joint largest fall, shared with December 2023, since January 2021. 


Household goods retailers saw the steepest drop, down 5.4% during the period, followed by fashion and footwear retailers down 5.1%. 

Online sales volumes also fell during the month but the proportion of sales made online increased.

The amount spent online fell by 1.2% during April and by 1.5% over the year, but the proportion of sales crept up from 26.2% in March to 26.5% in April.

PwC leader of industry for consumer markets Lisa Hooker said: “While we remain optimistic about a recovery later in the year, the conflicting factors of higher incomes and lower food and energy prices on the one hand, versus higher services inflation and delays to interest rate cuts on the other, suggest that retailers are not out of the woods yet.

“In the short term, retailers will be hoping that the better weather in May and the start of a summer of sport with the Euros, Wimbledon and the Olympics will provide a fillip for trading after a highly disappointing start to 2024.”

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