UK shoppers shrug off pyjamas, splurge on clothes

After a year spent in pyjamas and sweatshirts, people might just be ready to get dressed up.

New numbers Friday (May 21) showed UK clothing sales jumped by almost 70% in April.

That was just one part of a wider spending spree as lockdowns lifted.

Overall sales volumes jumped 9.2% on the month.

That was double the gain forecast by economists in a Reuters poll.

And it took retail sales back above their pre-crisis levels.

Other figures added to rebound hopes.

A survey of consumer sentiment showed morale also back at pre-crisis levels.

The numbers will be closely watched by the Bank of England.

It's expecting a surge in spending as wealthier households tap the cash hoard they built up during lockdowns.

The central bank this month forecast that the economy would grow 7.25% this year, after slumping by nearly 10% in 2020.

But the hopeful news comes too late for some retailers.

Department store Debenhams closed its last outlet this month after more than 240 years of trading.

And some market watchers bet the initial retail splurge will cool off.

Consultants Capital Economics say spending may shift to pubs, restaurants and cinemas as people emerge from lockdown.

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