BRC reports retail slump

Retail sales have slowed this year, a report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) shows.

The statistics, which cover the 5 weeks from 27 February to 2 April, show that UK retail sales increased by 3.1%, against an increase of 13.9% in March 2021. Sales decreased by 0.4% on a like-for-like basis from March 2021, worse than the 3-month average growth of 3.2%.

Food sales decreased by 2.6% on a total basis, while non-food retail sales increased by 14.9%.

Online sales also decreased, with non-food sales falling by 29% compared with growth of 64.7% in March 2021.

Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the BRC, said:

"As consumer confidence continued to sink, March saw sales slow, and while spend remained above last year this likely reflects high prices.

"The rising cost of living and the ongoing war in Ukraine has shaken consumer confidence, with expectations of people's personal finances over the next 12 months reaching depths not seen since the 2008 financial crisis.

"Furthermore, households are yet to feel the full impact of the recent rise in energy prices and National Insurance changes."

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