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A nation of shopaholics. And bargain hunters.

Retail sales rose by a blistering 4.2 per cent excluding fuel in the year to April, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics. That’s way above the (upwardly revised) 2.6 per cent recorded in the previous month and the 2 per cent that had been expected.

Including fuel, retail sales also rose by 4.3 per cent, from 3 per cent and set against a 2.5 per cent rise predicted.

RBS points out that there’s some serious bargain-hunting going on here, with this chart:

The figures seem to have added sterling to the shopping list. It’s up by 0.34 per cent on the day against the dollar now, at $1.4647.

But clothes really stand out in the data.

The ONS points out that all shop types aside from textiles, clothing and footwear enjoyed a rise in sales in April, compared to the same month last year.

Head of retail sales Melanie Richard said:

Clothing stores remain the main drag on growth in the retail sector, with sales hampered by unseasonal weather. However, both the volume and value of sales increased in April compared with March as lower prices boosted sales.

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