Total retail sales in the UK rose by 5.1% in March 2023, compared to 3.1% in March 2022, according to data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The figure was above the three-month average growth of 4.8%.

The UK’s like-for-like (LFL) retail sales in March increased by 4.9% versus 0.4% in March last year.

The data also revealed that food sales were up by 8.5% on both a total and LFL basis over the three months to March.

Sales in the non-food sector also grew by 1.8% and 1.4% on a total and LFL basis over the three months to March.

Instore non-food sales increased by 5.2% on a total basis and 4.6% on an LFL basis, while online non-food sales declined by 2.1% in March 2023.

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By GlobalData

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “While the wettest March in over 40 years dampened sales growth for fashion, gardening and DIY products, Mother’s Day brightened up sales for the month. Stores were given an extra boost, as last-minute shoppers dashed to their local high streets and shopping centres to purchase jewellery, fragrances and flowers.”

“With consumer confidence edging up and big events on the horizon such as the King’s Coronation, retailers have reason for a spring in their step. However, extensive cost pressures on business remain, and Government must ensure it minimises incoming regulatory burdens. Unless these future costs are brought to a heel, we will likely see high inflation continue for UK consumers who already face rising household bills from this month.”

BRC recently reported that total retail footfall in the UK increased by 6.8% last month on a year-on-year basis.