Thursday 26 March 2020 7:23 am

UK retail sales miss expectations before March's coronavirus hit

UK retail sales slumped 0.3 per cent in February to miss expectations of a small rise of 0.2 per cent.

And core UK retail sales dropped 0.5 per cent on a monthly basis, deeper than expected in February, despite few businesses seeing the coronavirus-led slowdown that has wrought havoc in March.

Excluding fuel, UK retail sales fell 0.5 per cent last month compared to January, worse than expectations of a fall of 0.2 per cent, Office for National Statistics (ONS) data showed.

Annualised growth in retail sales hit zero per cent, compared to an expected rise of 0,.8 per cent and a 0.8 per cent growth in the previous period.

The ONS said retailers were “largely unaffected by recent developments with the coronavirus”.

“However, a small number of retailers suggested that online orders shipped from China were reduced because of the impact of Covid-19.”

The pound did not react to the data, staying around $1.1835.

More to follow.

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