British Retail Consortium reports slow and steady growth

Tablet sales suffer in March but UK retailers enjoy positive month overall

Tablet sales suffered in March across UK retail, but stores enjoyed an overall lift in sales according to new data from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG.

TVs also saw a decline in sales due to a lack of ‘affordable innovation’, however, small domestic appliances sold strongly throughout the month.

During March, UK retail sales increased by 3.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis year-on-year. On a total basis, sales were up 4.7 per cent, against a 0.3 per cent fall in March 2014. But the figures are flattered by the inclusion of Easter in March this year against April last year.

Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 12.3 per cent in March versus a year earlier, when it had grown 12.8 per cent.

Helen Dickinson, director general at the British Retail Consortium, said: “People hit the High Street in March as the three month average showed that brick and mortar stores have contributed more to growth than online sales – the first time since August 2014.

"Looking at retail as a whole, there was a 4.7 per cent bump in sales, strengthened by the inclusion of Easter but underpinned by slow but steady growth.

“An increase in consumers venturing out to shop can be expected at this time of year and although this period is often difficult to measure due to Easter distortions, we saw a marked increase in sales across home categories including furniture and household appliances, even though fashion sales were a bit subdued. As could be expected during Easter, shoppers had a greater appetite for food with a 1.8 per cent increase in sales over the last three months.

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, added: “While the figures are inflated by the timing of Easter, they are still a welcome boost for retailers who have battled flat or falling like for like sales for the last quarter.”

This news comes after the British retail shop vacancy rate fell to 13 per cent in March.

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