Retail sales fall in March

The latest retail report from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has shown a drop in retail sales over March.

In the report, the ONS stated that non-essential retail sales and online sales both dropped over the month, a reflection of the rising cost of living. A 1.4% drop over March, coupled with a drop in fuel sales, is being attributed to rising prices with inflation running at 7% - its highest rate in 30 years.

Even with the drop in sales, overall retail sales were still above pre-COVID levels.

One of the biggest contributions to the decrease in sales came from online platforms, due to pandemic restrictions being eased and shoppers moving back to the high street.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:

"March sales were impacted by rising concerns around inflation as consumer confidence tumbled. The cost-of-living squeeze has many consumers thinking twice about major purchases, while their expectations of future financial situations plummeted to lows not seen since the financial crisis.

"Consumers face even more challenges as the energy price cap rose to a record high this month. Internet sales dropped to their lowest proportion of total retail sales since the start of the pandemic as shoppers gradually returned to physical retail destinations."

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