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UK retail sales grew more than expected in April

British retail sales grew more than expected in April, helped by increased government benefits and rebounding after bad weather hit spending in March.

The quantity of goods bought in Britain rose 0.5 per cent between March and April, in part reversing the sharp contraction in the previous month, according to data published on Friday by the Office for National Statistics.

This was higher than the 0.3 per cent growth forecast by economists polled by Reuters.

Sales volumes rose 0.8 per cent in the three months to April when compared with the previous three months; the highest rate since August 2021.

In April, government benefits payments for millions of households increased in line with the 10.1 per cent inflation rate of September 2022, supporting household finances.

Retail sales volumes were down 3 per cent compared with April last year, even if shoppers spent 4.7 per cent more, laying bare the impact of sticky high inflation on households’ finances. 

Grant Fitzner, ONS chief economist, said: “Retail sales grew, partially rebounding from a poor weather-affected March, with jewellers, sports retailers and department stores all having a good month. Despite continued high food prices, supermarkets also recovered from the fall in March.”

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