Cold weather damages business activity
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has released figures that highlight how the cold weather in March affected UK businesses.
Retailers and small businesses have said the cold weather has affected how many people are visiting their shops. The number of people shopping dropped by 5.2% compared to this time last year.
The Federation of Small Businesses has also said that the cold weather damaged demand and closed businesses. They report a loss of £174m across the UK’s small businesses. This amounts to a loss of £1,580 per business on average.
The BRC said that the worst affected regions were the east Midlands and the south west of England, as the number of people entering retail spaces dropped by 8.1% and 7% respectively.
The next worst hit retailers were those out of town, as numbers dropped by 4.2%, and even shopping centres dropped by 2.4%.
Helen Dickinson, the Direct General of the British Retail Consortium said “The prolonged cold was the main culprit for deterring shoppers, especially compared against the far milder March of 2012.
“It’s not all bad news: our March sales figures were fairly strong, even if you strip out the data for the Easter weekend which fell earlier this year than in 2012. This suggests that, when people did venture out, they bought things.”
A report by accountancy group Ernst & Young expects the UK economy to expand by just 0.6% this year.