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Dow Jones Newswires

May 20, 2022, 2:20 a.m. EDT

U.K. Retail Sales Rebounded in April

By Will Horner

U.K. retail sales rebounded in April, beating analysts' forecasts, as spending on alcohol, fuel and at online stores rose, the Office for National Statistics said Friday.

Retail sales volumes rose 1.4% last month from March. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had forecast retail sales would weaken by 0.3%.

Compared with April 2021, retail sales weakened by 4.9%. Still, sales for April were 4.1% above their prepandemic level in February 2020.

Sales in food stores were among the strongest, rising 2.8%, largely because of spending on alcohol and tobacco, the ONS said. Supermarket food sales were little changed.

Non-store sales also jumped after slumping in March. The category, which is largely sales at online retailers, rose by 3.7% in April, led by clothing sales.

Car fuel sales were also strong, rising 1.4% following a large drop in the previous month driven by high prices.

In March, retail sales fell by a revised 1.2%, less than the previously reported 1.4% fall.

Write to Will Horner at william.horner@wsj.com

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