UK retail sales slowed in March

Figures released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) have shown that UK retail sales slowed down in March as the cold weather continued.

Like for like sales were up 1.9% last month from a year earlier. Figures were down from February’s 2.7% rise, despite the boost that Easter gave the economy.

However, the cold weather lifted demand for food and drink. BRC director general Helen Dickinson said that overall results were ‘encouraging’.

“They round off a quarter which is perhaps much better than many expected at the start of the year,” she added.

For the January to March quarter, like-for-like food sales were up 2.5% compared with a year ago, while non-food sales rose 1.9%.

The BRC said these were the highest like for like sales increase on a quarterly basis since December 2009.

House textiles were the best performing category, as the cold weather lead to a boom in duvet sales.

However, growth in online sales slowed, rising 6.6% last month compared with a 13.9% increase in March 2012.

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