UK retail sales grew by 1.9% on like-for-like basis in the month of March 2013, against a 1.3% increase in the same month of preceding year, according to British Retail Consortium (BRC).
The growth is said to be driven by the heavy shopping for Easter that fell in the month, while in 2012 it was in the month of April.
Total sales, however, remained flat at 3.7% over the month, compared to 3.6% rise for March 2012.
Although in real terms, the total sales witnessed a growth of 2.3% over the period, with adjusted shopping price index inflation at 1.4%.
Commenting on the report, BRC director general Helen Dickinson stated that the positive result for the month reflect the first quarter of timid temperament by majority retailers.
"Easter fell in March this year but April in 2012, which helps this year’s figures, especially for items which tend to sell well over the long weekend like food and homewares," explained Dickinson.
"But even if we strip out the data for the last week of March, performances are encouraging, considering the weather impact."
The unseasonable snow and prolonged cold have even so affected the sales for some categories such as fashion. Also, the lack of demand for clothing and footwear hampered the sales in both the categories.
Nevertheless, sales from food category remained positive with significant boost from meals and ‘wintry’ fare such as roasts and chocolate.
"2013 has got off to an encouraging start for the market as a whole. Retailers are now hoping for a boost in consumer confidence and the general mood to lift performance across all, not just some sectors, as we head into the second quarter," concluded Dickinson.
Although the inclusion of Easter during the month worked in benefit of retailers, it is likely to have an impact for the year-on-year retail sales growth during April 2013.