Cold weather dents March retail sales

Suzie Neuwirth

UK retail sale volumes in March were today announced to have fallen 0.5 per cent compared to March last year, attributed to the poor weather.

The decrease is in strong contrast to the 2.5 per cent year-on-year growth in February, according to today’s report from the Office for National Statistics.

“March 2013 was the second coldest on record and this appears to have had a negative effect on sales in the non-food sector,” said the report.

However, over the quarter retail sales have risen 0.4 per cent, compared to the fourth quarter of last year. Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, tweeted today that this suggests an economy not in recession but still “a close call”.