London, England, United Kingdom (4E) – Retail sales in the UK significantly slowed in March and a gain previously estimated for February was weaker than initially thought, according to official data released Friday.
Retail sales climbed 0.1 percent in March from the earlier month, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. The pace is slower compared with the previous month’s 1.3 percent growth, which was downwardly revised from an initial reading of 1.7 percent. Sales had declined in January.
In the first three months of the year, sales climbed 0.8 percent, compared with a 0.6 percent growth in the final quarter of 2013.
The result comes ahead of the ONS report for the first estimate of British economic output in the first quarter that is due to be released on Tuesday. The economy is expected to expand 1 percent quarter-on- quarter, according to Bank of England officials earlier this week.
The stall in March’s sales growth was a result of a decline in sales of food and of goods from catalogues as well as other non-store retailers, the ONS said.
Consumer spending has been a driver in Britain’s economic recovery, which started in early 2013 and made the country as one of the top performers among the developed economies that year.