23/05/2012 05:43 BST | Updated 22/07/2012 06:12 BST

Wet Weather Dampens Demand For Summer Clothes, Retail Figures Down

Clothing retailers suffered their worst sales performance in nearly four years in April, official figures showed on Wednesday, as heavy rain dampened demand for a new summer wardrobe.

Clothing sales volumes plunged 5.2% month on month in April, the lowest level since June 2008, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, as retailers failed to shift summer clothing stocked up in unseasonably warm March.

Total retail sales volumes plunged by a worse-than-expected 2.3% on the month, the lowest level in nearly two-and-a-half years, although this was distorted by a record plunge in petrol and diesel sales following the threat of a fuel tanker strike the previous month.

Stripping out the impact of fuel sales, total retail sales volumes were down 1%, the worst performance excluding fuel in a nearly a year, the ONS said.