That’s the latest from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG, which said in their monthly survey that UK retail sales had risen by 1.9 percent on a like-for-like basis from March 2012, when they had risen 1.3 percent on the preceding year.
It said on a total basis, sales were up 3.7 percent, compared to 3.6 percent for the same time last year.
Easter, which fell in March this year as opposed to April last year, had helped the growth, however the winter weather still had a knock on effect in the fashion categories.
Online sales rose 6.6 percent compared with March 2012, when they had risen by 13.9 percent.
Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said food and homewares had done well last month as a result of Easter, while the weather also drove consumers to buy hearty meals such as roasts and chocolates. However, as a result, fashion suffered.
She said retailers were now hoping for a boost in consumer confidence as they headed into the second quarter, praying for some sunshine to get things moving.
David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, agreed – claiming the early Easter this year boosted the March sales figures and food and drink sales in particular soared as people stocked up to enjoy the long weekend. He said there was “also a welcome rise in house-related spending over the Easter break”.