Retail sales affected by early Easter and snow

Retail sales in the UK grew by 1.9 per cent in March, when compared with the same month in the previous year, according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The BRC's Retail Sales Monitor also found growth in online sales, which were up by 6.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis from March 2012.

Sales of certain items - such as food and homewares - were boosted by the snow and continuing cold weather whereas the demand for other goods - such as summer clothing and footwear - suffered as a result. This year's early Easter weekend, which fell in April last year, was a significant factor in March's growth.

The BRC's director general, Helen Dickinson, said retailers had enjoyed a positive first quarter and that they would be hoping to take that confidence into Q2.

Dickinson said: "2013 has got off to an encouraging start for the market as a whole. Retailers are now hoping for a boost in consumer confidence and the general mood to lift performance across all, not just some sectors, as we head into the second quarter. Getting a bit of sunshine, at long last, might help that along!"