Best retail sales in four years

High street sales rose by the highest amount in four years in March, boosted by early Easter spending according to the latest figures from The British Retail Consortium.

Total sales grew by 6.6% during March compared to the same month last year, when sales rose by just 0.6%.

Like-for-like sales, which exclude new stores and space, rose 4.4%.

Total food sales were boosted by shoppers stocking up on Easter treats and meals, up 4.3% in total and up 2.5% like-for-like.

Non-food, non-store sales, which include online, catalogue and phone sales, were 15.9% up on the same month a year ago.

Stephen Robertson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, says the figures are strong but warns the effect of Easter falling in March is “distorting”.

He adds: “In food and drink, this was the most intense March for eight years for promotional activity. Non-food is also a competitive battleground as retailers fight it out to entice customers being put off spending by pre-election uncertainty.”

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