High street slows down

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Retail sales growth in Britain slowed down in April, according to the latest research.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) says that high street sales increased 2.4 per cent on a like-for-like basis last month.

But that is considerably less than the comparative 6.8 per cent growth experienced in April 2006.

In addition, the BRC revealed that the three-month growth trend in April slipped to 3.3 per cent from the 3.5 per cent seen in March.

Nevertheless, the trade association insists the figures are a "good result" for the nation's high streets, with Easter's warm weather boosting sales of DIY, gardening and outdoor leisure goods.

"Predictably, some categories did better than others, although there was a general falling-off in sales growth towards the end of the month," said BRC director Kevin Hawkins.

"Now that Easter distortions are out of the way, we should get a clearer reading of the real level of sales growth as May progresses."

Last month the Office for National Statistics said that underlying growth in retail sales was "steady" thanks to strong annual growth rates.

The Bank of England is widely expected to raise interest rates a quarter of a percentage point to 5.5 per cent tomorrow.

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