The first March temperature check for retailers shows many caught a chill as poor weather put paid to hopes of sales growth.


40 percent of retailers surveyed by big-business group CBI reported a decline in sales volumes in March, outscoring the 32 percent who saw growth. The balance of retailers reported sales in line with last year.

The CBI's Distributive Trades Survey is the first of the monthly retail monitors, and in March counted the views of 53 retailers.

"Freezing conditions and transport disruption caused people to avoid the High Street," said Ben Jones, principal economist at the CBI.

"With many forced to work from home telecoms firms saw record internet traffic, yet online shopping slowed sharply given the potential for disrupted deliveries."

A negative balance* of 40 percent of retailers selling furniture and carpets reported volume decline on March 2017, though the survey doesn't specify how many of the 53 retailers that included.

* the percentage difference between those reporting growth and declines

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