UK retail sales fall by most on record as coronavirus lockdown hits
British retail sales fell by the most on record in March, official figures showed on Friday, reflecting the hit from the coronavirus shutdown which closed many businesses in the second half of the month, Trend reports with reference to Reuters.
Despite a surge in shopping for food, overall sales volumes plunged by 5.1% in March from February, a bigger fall than a median forecast for a drop of 4.0% in a Reuters poll of economists.
It was the sharpest drop since the Office for National Statistics records began in 1996.
A longer-running series which excludes fuel sales dropped by the most since it began in 1988, down by 3.7% on the month.
Compared with March last year, total sales were down 5.8%, also a bigger fall than expected by economists in the poll and the largest on record.
Food sales volumes were up by a record 10.4% in March from February as many people stocked up on essentials for the government’s stay-at-home order.
But clothing sales tumbled by 34.8%, the ONS said.