Fashion and footwear retail sales volumes increased 8.4% in March according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
Total retail sales volumes for March increased by 1.5% while the value of retail sales rose 2.3%.
According to the (ONS), there was continued weakness in the non-specialist sector - which includes department store - over the month. The non-specialist sector recorded a fall of 1.1% against last year.
During the two-month period over February and March total sales volumes rose 0.3%, while at non-food stores the largest rise was recorded at textile, clothing and footwear retailers, which notched up an increase of 7.9%.
The average weekly value of retail sales rose from £167 million in February to about £172m in March.
Richard Lowe, head of retail and wholesale, Barclays Commercial Bank said: “These latest sales figures have proved a little more resilient than widely expected and continue to contrast against the sharp fall in activity in the wider economy. Although seasonal adjustments are complicated given that Easter fell later this year, the data show that sales volumes picked up slightly in March.”
Lowe added: “This is despite the fact that price discounting seems to have been less aggressive and wide-spread than earlier in the year, signalling perhaps slightly more confidence about the sustainability of sales among retailers. With the late Easter break and unseasonably warm weather, retailers are cautiously optimistic that April sales will also offer a welcome increase on last year’s weak levels.”
“Operating tighter stock controlling techniques will enable retailers to preserve their cash flow, with the more successful retailers commanding greater control over their business operations than ever before.”