Rain hurts retail, quality of puns.

Retail "dampened".

Except, perhaps, in the umbrella industry, retail sales in April have been "under the weather", according to the British Retail Consortium.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson quipped: "The wettest April since records began has put a dampener on retailers' fortunes."

Women and children's clothing failed to absorb the hit: like-for-like sales sagged 3.3 per cent from last year. Sales of footwear also slipped, with the nastiest fall since January 2008. Clinton Cards has actually started to disintegrate, and will be put under administration after fading sales. It had been on the cards for a while, though. Finally Sainsbury's, like a trend-bucking dolphin rising from the waters of a flooded (in a bad way!) British retail marketplace, reported a 6.8 per cent rise in annual sales to £24.5bn.

An anonymous commenter said: "it really annoys me when people make puns about financial news."

Photograph: Getty Images

Martha Gill writes the weekly Irrational Animals column. You can follow her on Twitter here: @Martha_Gill.

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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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