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Retail sales plunge as shoppers shun clothes and shoes

Shopping - Retail sales fell at the fastest rate in over four years this month - SantanderCB

Retail sales fell at the fastest rate in over four years this month, adding to concerns that the services sector is suffering a slowdown.

The CBI said shoppers stayed away from the high street as cold weather reduced demand for summer ranges, and they bought fewer clothes, shoes and household goods than a year ago.

Rain Newton-Smith, the CBI's director of economics, said: 'Cold weather put a chill in sales of spring and summer ranges with a reported dip in retail sales in the year to April, but with the near-term outlook for household spending holding up, the sector expects a modest rise in sales next month. However, with margins remaining tight within the sector, retailers will continue to operate in a fiercely competitive environment for some time.' 

Only 22% of the 117 companies surveyed by the CBI reported a rise in sales compared with April last year, while 36% said sales were lower. This gave a resulting balance of -13%, the weakest figure since January 2012 and down from 7% last month.

 

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