RICHARD LIM | BRITISH RETAIL CONSORTIUM
"We saw the worst high street sales for 16 years in our survey for March, and I expect the Office for National Statistics data to show a similar picture. There was definitely an impact from Easter falling later this year, but the size of the fall in sales was beyond any seasonal impact."
HOWARD ARCHER | IHS GLOBAL INSIGHT
"We forecast retail sales volumes to have fallen by 0.6 per cent month-on-month in March after dipping by 0.8 per cent in February. Consumers are clearly less able and willing to spend as their purchasing power is squeezed hard by high inflation, muted wage growth and the increasing fiscal squeeze."
ANDREW GOODWIN | ERNST AND YOUNG ITEM CLUB
"We don’t expect the figures to be as bad as in February. We think that February’s data was very heavily influenced by the fact that January's sales were boosted by strong spending prior to the VAT rise. The ONS should also adjust its figures to account for the late-falling Easter this year."