Dow Jones Newswires: U.K. retail sales fell on month in March as high inflation weighed


By Ed Frankl

U.K. retail sales fell more than expected on month in March, reflecting that cost-of-living pressures from high inflation are weighing on household spending.

Retail sales volumes dipped 0.9% in March from the previous month, compared with a downwardly revised increase of 1.1% in February, data from the Office for National Statistics showed Friday.

The figure is weaker than the 0.6% fall expected by economists polled by The Wall Street Journal.

It marked the first fall since December 2022. Sales volumes fell 3.8% in the three months to March 2023 compared to the previous quarter, the ONS said.

Nonfood stores’ sales volumes fell by 1.3% in February, hurt by poor weather in March, the ONS said, citing feedback from retailers.

Sales volumes at food stores also fell, by 0.7% on month, following a rise of 0.6% in February, suggesting that inflationary pressures could be squeezing household spending.

Inflation ticked down only slightly in March, to 10.1% on year, driven by food inflation that reached 19.6%. Also affected by rising interest rates, sales are expected to remain subdued in the short term, some economists say.

Write to Ed Frankl at


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