Cold hard facts on UK high street spending
Just when you thought everyone was finding it safe to go out to the high street, the chill winds of spring blow in.
A monthly report by the CBI says spending in the UK's shops fell in March for the first time in six months.
It said pay freezes and the rising cost of living are hitting householders hard, a statement which chimes with recent inflation numbers.
More worrying for retailers is the fact the survey was carried out before the recent cold snap which is likely to have kept shoppers at home.
According to a survey by insurer RSA, the big freeze could be costing the economy £500m a day, a figure it can ill afford.