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UK retail shows promising growth

Retail sales in the UK showed promising growth in March, surpassing inflation rates, according to the latest report from BRC-KPMG. Total retail sales increased by 3.5% year-on-year (YoY), a slight dip from the 5.1% growth recorded in March 2023.

However, non-food sales experienced a YoY decline of 1.4% online, compared to a 2.1% drop in March 2023. The online penetration rate decreased marginally to 36.6% in March from 36.8% in the previous year.

Photo © Brett Critchley |

The boost in retail sales last month was primarily driven by the early Easter period, resulting in increased food sales leading up to the holiday weekend. Additionally, sales of non-food items such as cookware, tableware, and home textiles like throws and pillows saw a surge as consumers prepared to host gatherings. Conversely, sales of outdoor items like garden furniture, BBQs, DIY products, and clothing and footwear were dampened by inclement weather.

Looking ahead to April, retailers face challenges with rising costs due to increases in minimum wage rates and business rates for larger high street brands. However, economic indicators show some positive trends with easing inflationary pressures and potentially stabilised interest rates. Yet, consumer confidence remains delicate, and households are cautious about their spending habits.


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