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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Police shoot man in parliament

A man carrying what appeared to be a knife was shot by armed police after entering the parliamentary estate. 

From the window of the parliamentary Press Gallery, I have just seen police shoot a man who charged at officers while carrying what appeared to be a knife. A large crowd was seen fleeing from the man before he entered the parliamentary estate.

After several officers evaded him he was swiftly shot by armed police.

Ministers have been evacuated and journalists ordered to remain at their desks. 

More follows. Read Julia Rampen's news story here.

Armed police at the cordon outside Parliament on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Getty

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.