Retail sales enjoyed a surprise increase in April, defying the wider gloom to rise 1.4pc from a year earlier.
Strong supermarket and clothing sales drove the rise, according to the ONS. That’s despite inflation jumping to a 40-year high and consumers facing the biggest fall in living standards for decades.
But overall in the first quarter, sales fell 0.4pc, while April’s sales were down 4.9pc year on year.
Analysts warned the high street is facing a tough summer ahead as inflation eats away at margins and the cost-of-living crisis dents consumer spending.
5 things to start your day
one) Billionaires turn on Biden and his ‘party of hate’ The once-strong ties between US Democrats and Silicon Valley, the new heart of American corporate power, have broken down
two) Business chiefs cancel Davos lunch over cost of living crisis CBI calls off meeting normally attended by PM or Chancellor
3) Hinkley Point C to cost an extra £8bn as launch delayed by another year EDF hit by supply chain issues and higher prices for materials
4) Property mogul Nick Candy mulls takeover bid for THG Online retailer receives multiple offers after shares plunge 80pc
5) Plumbing business founder and wife to land £500m fortune Richard and Kate Harpin’s company, Homeserve, is being sold to a Canadian asset manager for £4.1bn
what happened overnight
Asian shares jumped in early trade on Friday after China cut a key lending benchmark to support a slowing economy, but a gauge of global equities remained set for its longest weekly losing streak on record amid investor worries about sluggish growth.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan quickly built on early gains after the cut, and was last up 1.4pc.
Chinese blue-chips were 1.1pc higher in early trade and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index jumped more than 2pc, while Australian shares rose 1.3pc. In Tokyo, the Nikkei stock index gained 1pc.
coming up today
- Company: Close Brothers (trading update)
- Economics: retail sales (UK)consumer confidence (US)interest rate decision (China)