Belfast Telegraph

Retail sales well above expectations

By Josie Clarke

Consumers ignored concerns surrounding Brexit to send retail sales surging in March, according to official figures.

Sales were up 1.1% on February, well above expectations of a fall of 0.3% and driven by food and non-store retailing, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

All retailers, except department stores and household goods stores, saw an increase in sales in the three months to March compared with the previous quarter.

Department stores were the only store type to suffer a decrease in sales - of 0.3% - when compared with last March.

Year-on-year growth in the quantity bought rose by 6.7% in March, the highest since October 2016, with a range of stores noting that the milder weather this year helped boost sales.

Figures for the first three months of the year, which smooth out monthly volatility, showed that sales grew by 1.6% on the previous quarter.

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