Sales were down one per cent year on year in March after a month of peaks and troughs.
March started strongly, partly due to an early Mother's Day, according to BDO's high street tracker, released today.
Fashion sales were down 2.5 per cent on March 2015, while lifestyle goods sales were up 2.4 per cent.
Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said “heavy downpours over Easter did not encourage spending” and “savvy consumers are waiting for promotions and discounts before they part with cash”.
"With a disappointing start to 2016, retailers were banking on the early Mother's Day and Easter delivering positive year-on-year sales in March,” she said.
"It is now more important than ever for retailers to truly understand their customers and offer the right product mix and shopping experience combined with strategic promotions to entice shoppers into stores.
"With a weak pound and as the National Living Wage starts to take effect, retailers will have to think hard on which actions will best deliver consumer spending, while keeping an eye on the impact on margins and their operating costs."