By Daniel Hunter

The improving weather has had a very positive impact on retailers and total spend growth compared to April last year was up 3.6%, which is above the current inflation rate, according to Barclays.

After a slow start in April, consumer spending improved along with the weather, displaying growth above 2% for the third consecutive month, something that hasn’t happened since 2011.

However, as consumers continued to look for value in their shopping options, average transaction value was down 1.4% compared to the same time in 2012.

The warm weather boosted spend at DIY stores (up 3.7% on last year) and garden centres (up 8.5% on last year), both of which showed substantial growth in the second half of the month, after experiencing difficult starts to the year. Many garden centres suffered a double hit after losing out on part of an important trading month, while feeling the impact from the loss of stock that could not be sold later.

Online spend continued its momentum and delivered 11.7% growth, but high-street footfall also improved. Spend at brick-and-mortar stores increased 1.7%, bouncing back from the flat growth seen in March. Online spend share remained high at 20%, up 1.5% compared to the same time last year, indicating the spend shift to the internet continues.

“April has been a more positive month for retailers with consumer spending up by a respectable 3.6 per cent against April 2012," Valerie Soranno Keating, CEO of Barclaycard said.

"Although economic data is generally mixed, this is the first time since 2011 that we’ve seen growth above 2% for three consecutive months, which may suggest a more sustained improvement in sentiment."

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