Improving weather has positive impact on retail sales growth, Barclaycard reveals


Improving weather has had a positive impact on retailers and total spend growth, compared to April last year, was up 3.6%, according to new Barclaycard spending data.  

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, said researchers.

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 8.5% on last year) and garden centres (up 3.7% 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, said Barclaycard. 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.

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



Cinema/Theatre 21.2% Department Store -8.0%
Airline 14.5% Men’s Clothing -5.5%
Restaurant 11.0% Women’s Clothing -3.5%


Garden Centre 8.5% Supermarket -3.4%


Public Transportation 6.5% Electronic Stores -2.1%


DIY Stores 3.7%    

In April, the entertainment sector continued to demonstrate robust performance, with cinema and theatre (21%) and restaurant (11%) both displaying significant increases compared to 2012.  This reinforces the shift to cheaper forms of entertainment by consumers is looking more permanent. 

In the travel sector, airline spend continued its momentum, up an impressive 14.5% compared to same time period last year. The shift from driving to mass transit continued with public transportation spend up 7% compared to 2012.

Department store spend was down 8.0% year-on-year, which is the lowest rate we’ve seen so far in 2013. Electronic stores spend failed to keep up its momentum seen in prior months with spend down 2.1% compared to last year.