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Retail sales rise in March

Like-for-like UK retail sales increased 3.2% in March compared to last year, boosted by Easter trading and in store sales.

According to the British Retail Consortium total sales were up 4.7% for the month. For the first time since August bricks and mortar sales over the first three months of the year contributed more to growth than online sales.

Online sales of non-food products in the UK increased 12.3% in March compared to 2014.

However Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC said clothing and footwear sales were “subdued”.

“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 even though fashion sales were a bit subdued. It is important to note that April figures will be impacted by the absence of Easter this year.”

Cooler spring weather led to a drop in sales in womenswear with dresses hit hardest. However jeans and light knitwear performed well. Shoppers bought more full price items boosting profitability in March.

In footwear the women’s sector performed worse than men’s products although the sales of sandals and flip flops were “encouraging”.

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