British retail sales bounced back in April -- and it was down to the weather

LONDON — UK retail sales had a blowout month in April, benefitting from better weather during the month, according to data from the Office for National Statistics on Thursday morning.

Retail sales rose by 2.3% compared to the month of March, while on a year-to-year basis, sales were up by 4% against April 2016.

Those numbers compared to forecasts from economists of 1% monthly growth, and 2% y-o-y growth prior to the release.

It looks as though April’s better than expected figures were down, at least in part, to good weather in the month.

“Anecdotal evidence from retailers suggests that good weather contributed to growth,” the ONS said.

On a rolling three-month basis — which partially removes the fluctuations associated with single month numbers — sales also picked up.

“The underlying pattern, as measured by the 3 month on 3 month estimate, showed a slight increase in April 2017 following a short period of contraction, increasing by 0.3%,” the ONS’ release said.

Here is the chart of that three-month trend:

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