Total retail sales volumes in the UK plunged by a worse-than-expected 2.3% in April to their lowest level in nearly two-and-a-half years, official figures showed today.
This figure was distorted by a record plunge in petrol and diesel sales following the threat of a fuel tanker strike the previous month, however.
Stripping out the impact of fuel sales, total retail sales volumes were down 1%, the worst performance excluding fuel in a nearly a year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
Clothing retailers suffered their worst sales performance in nearly four years in April, as heavy rain dampened demand for a new summer wardrobe.
Clothing sales volumes plunged 5.2% month on month in April, the lowest level since June 2008, the ONS said, as retailers failed to shift summer clothing stocked up in unseasonably warm March.