UK retailers outside the capital enjoy April bounce

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The Independent Online

The warm weather and a later Easter helped British retailers to post strong sales in April, with the biggest bounce experienced outside London.

Retailers in the capital delivered a 5.4 per cent hike in like-for-like sales last month, up slightly on the 5.2 per cent growth registered in March. The growth was boosted by throngs of eurozone consumers hitting the capital's shops, according to the British Retail Consortium-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

While the 4.6 per cent growth posted by retailers outside London was lower, the figures mark a sharp bounce from the 1.2 per cent fall in sales in March.

Stephen Robertson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, said: "Sunshine and Easter didn't give London sales growth the big boost they provided for the rest of the UK, but that's because the London figures were already well up on other parts of the country."

He added: "Overall, London's customers are proving more resilient to recession. Since the start of the year, London retail sales have consistently outperformed the country as a whole."

The data suggests that trading conditions may be improving for retailers across the UK, but most store groups believe it is far too early to call a recovery, following one of the worst recessions since the Second World War.

They also urged caution on reading too much into the BRC-KPMG numbers, as Easter fell in April this year and the weather was markedly warmer than it was last year.