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UK Retail Sales Fare Better Than Forecast In April

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UK retail sales performed better-than-expected in April as warm weather boosted clothing sales, data from the Office for National Statistics showed Friday.

The retail sales volume remained unchanged month-on-month, after rising 1.2 percent in March. Sales were forecast to drop 0.3 percent.

At the same time, sales excluding auto fuel, dropped 0.2 percent, in contrast to March's 1.4 percent increase. Economists had forecast a 0.5 percent fall.

Online retailers selling clothing products were the driver to this growth, with the warm weather helping to boost sales.

Ruth Gregory, an economist at Capital Economics, said away from this morning's political developments, April's retail sales figures were better than most had feared.

Nonetheless, the figures still suggest that GDP growth will be weaker in the second quarter than in the first quarter, the economist noted.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development forecast UK GDP to expand 1.2 percent in 2019 and 1 percent in 2020.

Elsewhere, quarterly Distributive Trades Survey from the Confederation of British Industry revealed that retail sales declined at the fastest pace since October 2017.

A balance of -27 percent reported a decline in sales volume in May. However, 7 percent forecast a pick-up in volume.

On a yearly basis, retail sales including auto fuel, increased 5.2 percent after expanding 6.7 percent a month ago, the ONS reported. This was bigger than the forecast of 4.5 percent.

Meanwhile, excluding auto fuel, retail sales growth eased to 4.9 percent from 6.3 percent. Economists had expected sales to grow 4.3 percent.

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