UK retail sales buoyed by early Easter despite drag on clothing

Kasmira Jefford
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BRITISH retailers enjoyed a second consecutive month of resilient sales as a strong demand for food and drink over the early Easter weekend helped offset a dismal month for fashion sales.

Total sales rose 3.7 per cent in March compared with a year earlier, down from 4.4 per cent growth in February, according to data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG released this morning.

Fashion sales frozen by cold weather

In like-for-like terms sales rose 1.9 per cent against March 2012.

Easter falling a month earlier this year helped bolster purchases of food as well as homewares.

But the cold weather led to a slump in new season clothing and footwear sales. Analysts warned Marks & Spencer could reveal a quarterly fall in clothing sales of up to six per cent on Thursday.