Retail sales fall by 2.3% in April 2024 – ONS

Official data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) this morning has shown that retail sales volumes fell by 2.3% in April 2024.

This followed a fall of 0.2% in March 2024, revised from 0.0%.

Newspage asked brokers how this could impact the Monetary Policy Committee’s (MPC) thinking in June and whether these poor numbers could put a June cut back on the table?

Their views are below.


Stephen Perkins, managing director at Yellow Brick Mortgages:

“When will the pain consumers and retailers are feeling finally be understood by Threadneedle Street?

“The Bank of England desperately needs to provide some respite, and fast.

“People aren’t spending because the cost of living crisis remains real and high interest rates are devouring their spending power.

“It’s also amazing that every time retail performance drops the weather gets blamed, despite being reasonably consistent year on year.

“Whilst it may have a small impact, let’s be honest, the dire retail data is mainly due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis forcing households to cut back on any spending not deemed absolutely essential.”

Michelle Lawson, director at Lawson Financial:

“These grim retail numbers could add to the chances of a June base rate reduction, which will help beleaguered borrowers.

“So much for the UK economy turning a corner, as the Government has argued.

“The good news around the the Energy Price Cap reduction will also be welcomed by borrowers.

“The reality is that the real economy is still struggling.

“High street closures in the UK’s struggling towns and cities continue and the pain for retailers shows no sign of letting up.”

Riz Malik, director at R3 Mortgages:

“We shouldn’t rule out the possibility of a June base rate cut and these retail figures definitely support that argument.

“Bad news for retailers, as sad as it is, could be good news for borrowers.

“If the next inflation print, coming before the June MPC meeting, is what the market wants to see, we may yet get the rate cut Rishi has been praying for.”

Rob Gill, managing director at Altura Mortgage Finance:

“This is a big miss versus expectations of -0.5% on top of a revision of the March data from 0% to -0.2%.

“This perhaps puts a June rate cut from the Bank of England back on the table after Wednesday’s inflation number seemed to scupper the idea.”

Craig Fish, director at Lodestone Mortgages & Protection:

“These appalling numbers will come as no surprise to anyone, despite what Rishi and Jeremy are trying to spin in the press.

“The inflation number may well be reducing but people don’t have money to spend due to higher energy bills and massively increased mortgage and rental costs.

“What is urgently needed is a cut to the base rate, and quickly, before too much damage is done.

“The decision makers on Threadneedle street should make the right choice and reduce but it’s likely they’ll stick due to the uncertainty caused by the General Election.”

Ben Perks, managing director at Orchard Financial Advisers:

“The ONS must be a pretty depressing place to work lately, with another round of deflating UK economic data released today. Like everything else, retail sales have suffered.

“This cloud does have a silver lining, potentially. Everything is now pointing towards a June Base Rate cut.

“The Monetary Policy Committee must take note and make a reduction. It’s now not a question of if they cut, just by how much.”

Samuel Mather-Holgate, independent financial adviser at Mather and Murray Financial:

“Central data seems mildly schizophrenic currently, with recent better than expected GDP figures, falling inflation and, now poor retail sales.

“The Bank of England will have a headache dissecting this and what it means for households. We should still not expect a rate cut at their next meeting, as they err on the side of caution.

“Today’s data will feed through into the inflation rate to come, and that will set the tone for slashing rates.”