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April Showers Hamper High Street Shopping

HOUSEHOLD spending in April dropped by one of the largest monthly amounts since the financial crisis in early 2009.
Wolfestone_09-webHOUSEHOLD spending in April dropped by one of the largest monthly amounts since the financial crisis in early 2009. Wet weather put shoppers off pounding the pavements and consumers took to their computers for retail therapy last month according to the latest Visa UK Expenditure Index. Face-to-face spending on the high street saw a 6.9 per cent year on year fall which was the biggest drop recorded since the study began in June 2009. Visa found online spending saw a more gentle decline of 0.8 per cent compared with the 2.8 per cent fall it suffered in March. Researchers put this down to the comparison with the same time last year when the economy was boosted by the royal wedding. A panic at the pumps sparked by comments over a potential fuel crisis also helped drive an artificial inflation of spending in March. Steve Perry, commercial director at Visa Europe, said: "The dismal weather clearly had an impact on retail sales and unlike last year there was no royal wedding to buoy the month's consumer expenditure." News of April's poor performance also comes as the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Wales is promoting a campaign to urge AMs and MPs to visit small firms in their constituencies, keep up to date with the challenges they face and reflect this in their policy making. Swansea-based entrepreneurs Anna Bastek and Roy Allkin run language company Wolfestone Translation in the city and are backing the campaign. Anna said: "The Government is clearly seeking to champion local business, and one of the ways they can accelerate this is by proactively recruiting successful business people to mentor start-ups. "They should also do more to help UK businesses target new overseas markets. "There is a huge amount of talent and innovation in the UK, and if the best market for those qualities lies overseas, we need to tap into it. "The Government needs to provide SMEs with useful and timely information on key target markets as well as practical advice in implementing their export strategy." The FSB in Wales is bringing AMs and ministers together with entrepreneurs at the Federation's annual dinner in Cardiff tonight where the keynote speaker will be First Minister Carwyn Jones. Janet Jones, Welsh Policy Unit Chair for the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "There are many fantastic entrepreneurs like Anna and Roy in Wales, and by making these individuals more visible, it can show others what is possible and that help is at hand. "Small enterprises are the backbone of the Welsh economy and the Welsh Government can do more to support these businesses, particularly in the early days after starting up a business. The real-life entrepreneurs are the risk-takers and the job creators. "While we acknowledge that politicians share our ambition to strengthen and increase the competitiveness of the Welsh economy, this is not always as evident when it comes to actual engagement with business."

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