Retail Sales Drop Again

Posted on Apr 05, 2024. by NTI

Retail sales saw another drop in March, continuing a trend that has been going on for the last six months.
This is the longest decline in retail sales outside of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Total in-store and online sales fell by 2.2% in March, according to a BDO survey. The decline in March was blamed on wet and windy weather deterring consumers from their local high street over the Easter weekend.

Sophie Michael, head of retail and wholesale at BDO, said: “These results continue to paint a bleak picture for retailers. Despite both the Easter bank holiday weekend and Mother’s Day falling in March this year, these results serve as a stark reminder of the pressure the sector is under.”
It is anticipated that BDO’s figures will match the retail sales estimates produced by the Office of National Statistics when they are published.

It is thought that weak demand for household goods, which performed particularly poorly last month, dropping by 10.9%, led overall sales to be lower. Fashion and lifestyle products were among the few categories in which sales volumes improved.

The cost-of-living crisis is naturally largely to blame, as it is anticipated that living standards will not reach their pre-pandemic level until 2025. Consumer confidence has also struggled over the last few months.

Other economic indicators suggest the economy is getting stronger, however. GDP returned to growth at the beginning of 2024, and the latest purchasing managers’ index (PMI) indicated that private sector activity had increased for five months consecutively.

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