UK retail sales rise

March saw the value of retail sales jump by 5.7 per cent compared to this time last year

Despite the financial squeeze UK retail sales saw a considerable increase last month recording the biggest monthly rise in more than 12 months.

The Office of National Statistics say sales volumes have increases by 3.3 per cent since March 2011 driven by the warm weather and panic buying of fuel.

Internet sales also increased by 15.2 per cent with web sales estimated to account for 8.5 per cent of all retail sales values.

Explaining the sudden rise, which follows a decline of 0.8 per cent in February, analysts say sales were boosted by the early arrival of Easter.

‘We have to remember that Easter was early this year so a lot of consumers might have bought their food purchases for Easter early into the month of March,’ says Natalie Berg from Planet Retail.

But she warns that while March shows a boost in retail sales, it’s not an indication of wider economic recovery.

‘Wage growth is at just 1.4 per cent so we are still seeing the ongoing erosion of spending power among consumers,’ says Berg.

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