ONS: Surprise rise in March retail sales

| April 21, 2011
ONS: Surprise rise in March retail sales

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has today reported a rise in UK retail sales for the month of March.

According to the ONS, sales volumes registered a surprise rise of 0.2% on a monthly basis – driven by strong food and non-store sales.

However, other sectors which performed well included garden stores and toy stores.

Retail sales were expected to be weak after the British Retail Consortium last week reported total sales fell by 1.9% on an annual basis in February – the worst fall since the series started in 1995.

Many retailers are suffering as a result of the economic uncertainty and the ongoing squeeze on household incomes due to soaring inflation and low wage growth.

Yesterday, Home Retail Group, owner of Argos and Homebase, reported a 9.5% fall in pre-tax profits, while supermarket giant Tesco unveiled a 0.7% drop in UK like-for-like sales in the three months to 26 February.

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