16 May 2016 - Janet Bird
The continuous downpour generated by last month's April 'showers' kept shoppers indoors and hit retail sales.
Figures compiled by the British Retail Consortium and KPMG show that UK retailers suffered the sharpest sales decline for eight months in April.
Sales for the month were down 0.9 percent compared to April 2015, although total sales for the period - which do not take account of new store openings - were flat.
Fashion and footwear sales were particularly hard hit, as the wet weather put shoppers off investing in the spring and summer collections. By contrast, homeware sales continued to rise - perhaps boosted by the healthy housing market - and food sales were also positive.
Online sales of non-food products in the UK were up 6.6 percent compared to April 2015 but, despite being a healthy increase, this marked the slowest period of growth since April 2013.