UK retail sales in March fell by the largest amount in the last 12 months due to the late timing of Easter this year, says the British Retail Consortium.
Like-for-like sales dropped by 1.7 per cent year-on-year in March in terms of value, reports Reuters, following a 0.7 per cent rise in February.
Easter fell in March in 2013, which gave the retail sector a shot in the arm, but this year the Easter holidays won’t take place until later this week (Friday 18th April to Monday 21st April).
"Sales figures are stronger than might have been expected given the fact that Easter has fallen so late this year," said BRC Director General Helen Dickinson.
The food sector saw an average fall in prices of 1.7 per cent in March – the biggest drop since British Retail Consortium records began in 2006.
"The decision by some of the major grocers to go head to head in a billion pound price war will exacerbate this situation," said David McCorquodale, head of retail at accountants KPMG.
"Investors will be keeping a keen eye on the sector as they wait to see how these discounts will impact profits and performance, but the winner in this case will be the consumer."