• April 2012 retail sales volumes: -2.3% on the month, -1.1% on the year
Commenting on the retail sales figures for April 2012 published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:“The fall in retail sales was unsurprising following the strong increase in March, although the decline was bigger than expected. However, this is mainly due to the sale of fuel for cars, which can be highly erratic. Averaging the monthly fluctuations over the past year indicates very modest growth, which confirms that the UK economy is still too weak.
“Although the government should continue with its plan to reduce the deficit, ministers should consider reallocating priorities towards more policies to support growth. Increasing infrastructure spending is certainly needed, and this can partly be accommodated within Plan A. If tax cuts are an option, cutting national insurance contributions rather than VAT would be more effective in supporting jobs and wealth creation.”