UK sales of furniture, floor coverings up 5.7% year-over-year in April, their highest growth since April 2006

LONDON , May 19, 2014 () – SHOPPERS are remaining cautious despite an improving economy, a retail analyst has warned, as footfall dropped by 0.1pc during April.

Buyers shied away from the high street and shopping centres over Easter, with customer numbers dropping by 1.4pc and 0.9pc respectively.

However, out–of–town retail parks experienced a 4pc rise in footfall as homeowners, keen to boost their property values, snapped up furniture and floorcoverings. These items reported their highest growth since April 2006.

Diane Wehrle, retail insights director at Springboard, said: "Consumers are more enthusiastic about investing in home products, the greatest choice of which is found in retail parks. Indeed, this reflects sales in April which rose by 5.7 per cent.

"However, shoppers are a lot more cautious now than they used to be. Whereas in the past we were led out of recession by consumer spending and the easy availability of credit, people are now a lot more cautious – it will be a slow increase.

"The next few months are going to be harder for retailers and turnover is not going to go up as much as they would like."

Two English regions reported belowaverage footfall – Greater London, with a 3.4pc drop, and the East Midlands, where customer numbers fell by 3.2pc.

However, in Northern Ireland, footfall jumped 12.8pc in April – its highest rise since December 2012.
(c) 2014 The Telegraph Group Limited, London

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