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UK retail sales rise in March thanks to Mothers Day

UK high street

UK retailers reported a boost in spending in March, attributing Mothers Day purchases to slight increase, despite the ongoing cost-of-living crisis continuing to intensify.

According to new data released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG, total retail sales increased by 5.1% last month, compared with the 5.2% rise in February.

Like-for-like sales increased 4.9% in March, ahead of the three-month average of 4.6%, and stable from February’s 4.9% growth.

The report also stated total food sales soared by 8.5%, while non-food sales saw a 1.8% rise.

Online retailers also benefited from the boost in sales of home items, however, saw continued decline in sales across most other categories, particularly clothing.

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According to the BRC, customers dashed to stores to buy last-minute Mothers Day gifts, including perfume, flowers and jewellery, giving retailers the “extra boost”.

“While the wettest March in over forty years dampened sales growth for fashion, gardening and DIY products, Mother’s Day brightened up sales for the month,” BRC CEO Helen Dickinson said.

“With consumer confidence edging up and big events on the horizon such as the King’s coronation, retailers have reasons for a spring in their step. However, extensive cost pressures on business remain and the government must ensure it minimises incoming regulatory burdens.

“Unless these future costs are brought to a heel, we will likely see high inflation continue for UK consumers who already face rising household bills from this month.”

KPMG UK head of retail Paul Martin also warned retailers face the challenges of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis and rising inflation in April.

He added: “As we enter April, rising utility costs, council tax and mobile bills coupled with frozen personal tax rates and the withdrawal of energy bill support will see consumers having to further cut back on discretionary spending.

Consumers will continue to take steps to reduce spend where they can – switching where they shop, what they buy, and spending on fewer items.

Image credit: Shutterstock

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