The latest official retail figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), show that the cold snap did not dent sales growth in March as much as had been feared, but it cooled demand for new-season ranges in some categories, especially clothing and footwear.
Excluding fuel, the ONS numbers show the total value of sales (not seasonally adjusted) was 2.1% in March compared with a year ago. The February growth rate has been revised down to 4%. This is a broadly similar trend to the BRC & #39;s own figures, released on 9 April.
British Retail Consortium Director General, Helen Dickinson, said: & quot;The coldest March for 50 years brought mixed fortunes for different retailers. Food fared well thanks to Easter celebrations and the weather fuelled continued demand for hearty meals. But sales were sluggish for seasonal lines, especially Spring and Summer fashion ranges.
& quot;April could be another mixed bag - Easter fell in April 2012 but without the Bank Holiday boost this year some categories may struggle. On the other hand, the late arrival of more Spring-like weather should help to make shopping trips and seasonal ranges more appealing to customers. & quot;
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