The latest figures for retail sales have shown a surprising increase of 1.4% in April reversing the drop in March although the 3 month figure of minus 0.3% continues the downtrend that started last summer.
The biggest rise (2.8%) was food stores although supermarket food sales were broadly unchanged from last month and the uplift was mainly due to increased sales of alcohol and tobacco suggesting that evenings out are being replaced with drinks at home.
Fuel and clothing sales also increased last month although the 1.4% increase in fuel sales needs to be taken in context of the 4.2% fall in March when petrol & diesel costs had that record increase. Spending in non-food stores fell by 3.3% with household goods such as furniture being left in store.
So whilst the April sales figures are positive we do not believe they provide much cheer for the retail or hospitality sectors – although we would love to be wrong.
As we have said before, any business that is struggling as a result of this downturn needs to act decisively and seek independent professional advice and that is why we are always available for an initial zero cost assessment which can be arranged by contacting Alistair Dickson.