Total year-on-year sales neither grew nor declined in March, according to the latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG sales report, covering 28 February to 2 April 2016.
The plateau has been attributed to the earlier timing of Easter. Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the BRC says: “There was neither growth nor decline in total year-on-year sales in March, although this relatively disappointing picture is distorted by the earlier timing of Easter this year.
“Looking at the long-term picture, the rolling 12-month average growth slowed to 1.4 per cent, its lowest since August 2015. This slowdown can’t be viewed in isolation; retail is an industry undergoing significant structural change as the investment in the digital offer continues apace, while from a consumer perspective, more disposable income is being spent on leisure and entertainment.”
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, says: “Despite the clock move bringing extra hours of daylight, there was no ‘spring forward’ for retail sales during March, with growth broadly flat overall.
“Earlier Easters are not always good, however the Mother’s Day effect boosted sales of jewellery and watches. Looking ahead, retailers will be hoping for fewer April showers this month to entice spending on these newly launched ranges and to help alleviate the additional cost burden with the implementation of the National Living Wage.”