By Daniel Hunter

Official figures have revealed that bad weather continued to hamper spending, as retail sales dropped in April.

The Office for National Statistics's (ONS) data showed that sales were 1.2% lower in April than March. The ONS also said retail sales volumes last month were 0.5% higher than a year earlier, much less than expected.

Total food sales plunged 4.1% in April, their largest monthly fall in almost two years.

“Retailers are not out of the woods yet. While the UK economy managed to avoid a triple dip recession, the retail sector is still struggling to make a sustained comeback," Peter Saville, partner at Zolfo Cooper said.

"Disappointing results at some of Britain’s biggest chains underline the competitiveness of the market and the importance of understanding your customer base. However, with indicators suggesting that consumer confidence is on the rise, there is certainly an opportunity for retailers to capitalise on this and drive growth within the UK economy.”

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