UK retail sales growth slowed in March as living costs rose, according to a survey released on Thursday by the Confederation of British Industry.
The CBI’s monthly retail sales balance fell to +9 from +14 in February, coming in below expectations for a reading of +10.
Retail sales were seen as “poor” for this time of the year, with the balance down to -23 in March from +16 the month before. They are expected to remain below seasonal norms, but to a lesser extent, in April.
CBI principal economist Martin Sartorius said: “Retailers had a mediocre March, with sales reported as being below seasonal norms. The cost-of-living crisis is looming large across the sector, as households’ wallets are being hit by the fastest rate of inflation in decades.
“The Chancellor’s Spring Statement outlined new support for those on low incomes amid these financial challenges. But further action will be needed to galvanise consumer confidence, shore up incomes, and support spending on UK high streets in the tough months to come.”