UK online sales up 12% in positive March report

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Retail sales up 2.7% on like-for-like basis in slow and steady month.

The British Retail Consortium has unveiled its March retail sales results, citing “slow but steady” 4.7% growth across all categories and a 12.8% boost in online sales across non-food items.

UK retail sales increased by 3.2% on a like-for-like compared to March 2014 – a figure far more positive than the 1.7% decline experienced in March 2014 compared to 2013.

On a total basis, sales were up 4.7% against a 0.3% fall in March 2014. This was also supported by an earlier Easter holiday, which started this year in March as opposed to April.

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In the three months from January to March 2015, non food sales increased by 2.7% compared to 2014 on a like-for-like basis and 3.7% in total.

Online sales on non-food products were also up by 12.3%, another positive step following a 12.8% increase in March 2014.

British Retail Consortium director general, Helen Dickinson commented: “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.

“All-in-all, retailers can also be satisfied with the consumer response to their Mother’s Day and Easter offerings, but it is important to note that April figures will be impacted by the absence of Easter this year.”

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