Retail sales volumes rose 4.2% in March compared with a year earlier and were 0.1% higher in March than in February, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The ONS March retail sales statistical bulletin said the results may partly reflect the negative effect of the very cold weather a year earlier, which was the second coldest March on record, in contrast to the warm weather in March 2014. Non-food stores saw the highest year-on-year increase (9.6%) since April 2002. Food stores, however, saw the largest year-on-year decrease (2.3%) since April 2013.
In March 2014, the amount spent in the retail industry lifted 3.9% compared with March 2013 and by 0.3% compared with February 2014. Non-seasonally adjusted data show that the average weekly spend in the retail industry in March 2014 was £6.7 billion against £6.6 billion in March 2013 and £6.5 billion in February 2014.
The amount spent online climbed by 7.1% in March 2014 compared with March 2013 and by 1.4% compared with February 2014. Average prices of goods sold in March 2014 showed deflation of 0.5%.
The bulletin presents estimates of the quantity bought (volume) and amount spent (value) in the retail industry for the period March 2 to April 5. The figures are estimates based on a monthly survey of 5,000 retailers, including all large retailers employing 100 people or more.