Early Easter Puts a Spring in Retailers’ Steps

Commenting on the publication today of the latest ONS retail sales figures, David McCorquodale, UK head of retail, said:

“According to the seasonally adjusted ONS statistics, March was a bumper month for retailers with total sales up in almost all categories.  Volumes, excluding fuel, rose by 5% YOY, but discounting and deflation reduced the increase in values sold to 2.6%. This implies that promotional campaigns are working and driving sales.

“The main story I believe is the growth in grocery of 3.5% in volume terms.  Grocers will be buoyed to see that their hard work is starting to pay off after months of frustration. However, as price deflation persists, the value of grocery sales increased by 0.9% indicating that a lot of hard work lies ahead for food retailers.

“With the upcoming election it will be interesting to see the impact a new government will have on consumer confidence, and while it is encouraging that retailers are benefitting from the economic recovery, they’ll need to continue to exercise some caution given the uncertainty ahead.”