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Retail sales fell in April

The value of retail sales in the UK was down by 2.2 per cent in April compared with April 2012, according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The BRC's Retail Sales Monitor found that the early Easter holiday, which fell in March this year but in April in 2012, had a negative impact on sales growth.

Online sales, however, grew by 8.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis from April 2012. In April 2012 they had grown by nine per cent when compared with April 2011.

The BRC's director general, Helen Dickinson, said: "On the surface these are really poor figures but they're hiding another respectable month. The fact that the boost from Easter didn't fall in April this year hit food sales in particular. But, taking away the Easter distortion, this was actually a better month than March, especially for non-food sales.

"Essentially, so far this year, sales growth is a small and tentative step up on where it was in 2012 but when it will take the next step is not clear."