Book sales "well down" as general retail rises

Book sales for April were "well down" in a month where general UK retail sales rose by 5.2% on last year.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) today (10th May) reported like-for-like sales were up 5.2% in value from April 2010—when sales had fallen 2.3%.

However the BRC said book sales remained down on a year ago "despite a modest boost from Royal Wedding titles".

The Bookseller reported last week that the book trade suffered their poorest sales in almost eight years with spending on physical books slumping by 12% week-on-week. According to Nielsen BookScan data, spending at UK book retail outlets in the seven days to 30th April totalled £20.8m, down £2.8m on the previous week and down 20% (£5.1m) on the same week last year. Across the four weeks to 30th April, sales totalled £94.3m, down 9% month on month and 4% year on year. 

However, only Easter Sunday and Monday fell into the April trading period in 2010, whereas this year all of Easter came in April's trading period.

Stephen Robertson, BRC director general, said: "Considered together, the results for March and April largely cancel each other out and the overall trend is flat.

"The underlying pressures on the retail sector of climbing costs and depressed consumer spending will be problems for many months to come. The Bank's decision to maintain the freeze on interest rates was the right one and it's important we see the economy performing much more strongly before there is any change in future."