A 15 percent increase in sales over the Easter week offset sub-zero trading in the early part of March, according to the British Retail Consortium.


The stores group's monthly BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor recorded 1.4 percent like-for-like sales growth, driven primarily by higher food spend.

However, furniture ranked second behind food when in March 2017 it had been the weakest of the 13 categories followed by the monitor.

"There’s no doubt that the ‘Beast from the East’ and its successor played a significant role in deterring shoppers from making store visits," said BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson.

"But it didn’t dampen consumers’ appetites towards food purchases, which saw the anticipated spike from the Easter festivities.

"This was in stark contrast to non-food sales which, despite some promotional-driven activity, bore the brunt of consumers’ disinterest in typical Springtime purchases, as well as the ongoing spending squeeze on non-essentials."

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