U.K. retail sale volumes rose sharply in April, fuelling optimism over the health of the country’s economy, industry data showed on Thursday.
In a report, the Confederation of British Industry said the result of its index of U.K. retailers jumped by 17.0 points to a reading of 30.0 this month from 13.0 in March. Analysts had expected the index to increase by 4.0 point to 17.0 in April.
On the index, a reading above 0.0 indicates higher sales volume, below indicates lower.
Sales volumes are expected to rise again next month, with expectations for growth at their strongest since December 2010.
Among the retail sectors, grocers, footwear & leather and hardware & DIY recorded particularly strong annual sales growth, all seeing a pick-up from March.
Barry Williams, Chair of the CBI Distributive Trades Survey Panel said, “The high street has a spring in its step – retailers performed well in April and enjoyed a strong rise in sales compared with this time last year. It’s a welcome rebound from March, largely down to the later timing of Mother’s Day and Easter.”
Following the release of that data, the pound held on to mild gains against the U.S. dollar, with GBP/USD advancing 0.09% to trade at 1.6797.
Meanwhile, European stock markets remained higher. London’s FTSE 100 climbed 0.7%, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.8%, France’s CAC 40 jumped 1%, while Germany's DAX rallied 1%.