UK retail sales "sluggish" in March
Retailers will be hoping their summer lines will lure consumers into stores
With the weather improving, UK retailers will be hoping their new summer lines can lure consumers back into stores this month, after clothing sales continued on their downward trajectory in March.
Sales volumes at textile, clothing and footwear stores declined 6.2% year-on-year, according to data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today (21 April). In value terms, sales fell 6.4%. Average store prices for the category edged up 0.4%, with weekly sales averaging GBP800m (US$1.15bn).
Internet sales of textiles, clothing and footwear were down 6.2%, accounting for 11.5% of total sales made online.
Overall retail sales increased 2.7%, marking the 35th consecutive month of year-on-year growth. In value terms, sales edged down 0.1%. On a month-by month basis, sales volumes and value each fell 1.3%.
"Sales were sluggish in March, with the industry struggling to replicate the success achieved at the start of the year," said Ian Gilmartin, head of retail and wholesale at Barclays.
"However, there are still some encouraging signs as online sales again impressed, with retailers appealing to tech-savvy customers by taking advantage of internet and mobile sales opportunities."
He added: "Now that the sun has started to shine occasionally, retailers will be hoping their summer lines can capture shoppers' attention and lure them back to the high street, and that increased footfall coupled with further online growth will help deliver a return to form this month."
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