Page last updated at 23:00 GMT, Monday, 12 May 2008 00:00 UK

Second negative month for sales

Shoppers in Southampton
The BRC conditions remain tough for retailers

Sales on UK High Streets fell for the second month in a row in April, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Like-for-like sales fell 1.5% in April compared with the same month of 2007.

But total sales, which include outlets that were not open last year, rose 1.0% in April.

The BRC's Retail Sales Monitor only measures the value of sales from a selection of retailers, but it comes out sooner than the official figures.

It was the first time that the BRC's measure had fallen for two months in a row since early 2005.

Sunny weather

In the three months from February to April, like-for-like sales fell 0.6%.

The BRC's director general Stephen Robertson said he hoped the recent sunny weather would have helped retailers since April.

But he added that these figures gave "further evidence that hard-pressed customers are really watching the pounds".

"With higher fuel and utility bills eating away at people's spare cash, they are concentrating on essentials like food.

"Despite heavy discounting, clothing and footwear were at their weakest for at least eight years and more expensive housing-related goods continue to struggle."

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