Retail sector still strong despite slight setback

  • Retail sales volumes in March 2015, down 0.5% on the month, but up 4.2% on the year
  • Average store prices fell by 3.1% in March 2015, compared with March 2014

Commenting on the latest retail sales figures for March 2015 published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, said:

“After strong growth in February, it is not surprising to see a slowdown in retail sales in March. In fact, if you remove the fall in petrol station sales, overall sales rose slightly in March.  The underlying trend for the retail sector remains positive, with sales in the first three months of 2015 up by almost 5.0%.

“While it is positive to see the retail sector performing well, the UK economy still relies far too heavily on consumer spending, and the contribution of exports and investment remain too low. The next government has to address this as a priority. We need to start a revolution in how we export if we are to see sustainable economic growth.”

David Bharier, BCC Business Insight Manager said:

“Since the 2008-09 recession, the BCC’s Quarterly Economic Survey has shown a strong level of growth in retail sales, with an increasing number of retailers reporting improved sales.

“However, despite this growth, the retail sales balance (+29%) was slightly weaker than the wider service sector balance, which stood at +34% in Q1 2015.”