Shops report falling sales after a storm-hit Easter

Sales fell over Easter due to bad weather.

Sales fell over Easter due to bad weather.

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Retailers suffered a second successive month of falling sales after a storm­-hit Easter period.

Official figures from the Office for National Statistics suggest items bought in the retail industry in March decreased by 1.3% in comparison to February, on the back of a 0.4% decrease the previous month.

Year­-on-­year sales did increase though, up 2.7%, although again that figure was down from 3.8% in February.

Keith Richardson, managing director of the retail sector at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Not even the combination of an early Easter and Mother’s Day could shelter retailers from Storm Katie and the headwinds of slowing consumer spending, resulting in a second successive month of falling sales.”

The Office for National Statistics said average store prices, including petrol stations, fell by 3% in March ­- the 21st consecutive month of year­-on­-year decreases.

And the amount spent in the retail industry decreased by 0.1% compared with March last year, and by 1.3% compared with February this year.

Online sales continued to rise though, with an 8.9% increase compared to a year ago.

Keith Richardson, managing director of the retail sector at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Not even the combination of an early Easter and Mother’s Day could shelter retailers from Storm Katie and the headwinds of slowing consumer spending, resulting in a second successive month of falling sales.

“The four-day Easter weekend normally brings with it bumper sales of food, spring fashion and plenty of DIY and gardening goods as families use the extra days off to spruce up their homes.

“Not only did Easter come too early for people looking to refresh their spring wardrobes, but it also coincided with bad weather sweeping across much of the UK, dampening any enthusiasm for gardening equipment.”