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London like-for-like sales climb 9.9% in March

Retail like-for-like sales in London climbed 9.9% in March, more than double the rate of the rest of the UK.

The inclusion of Good Friday and Easter Saturday in the period boosted performance, and sterling’s weakness drew European shoppers to the capital over the holiday period, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) - KPMG London Retail Sales Monitor.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson described the performance as “strong” and said: “This year’s earlier Easter boosted food sales in particular. The Easter holiday encouraged more British families to come to London and combined with the weak pound, attracted visitors from western Europe and China in particular.”

He said that pre-election uncertainty is still making consumers nervous but that London shoppers are more willing to spend than those elsewhere.

The report added that spring clothing and footwear had a mixed start in the cold wet weather, but mid-season sales and promotions drove gains for some. Economic and political uncertainty meant consumers favoured essentials and replacements over discretionary items.

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