Retail sales recovered in March after last month’s disappointing figures, according to the latest CBI monthly Distributive Trades survey.
In a study of 126 firms, 34% of respondents said volumes were up on a year ago, and 15% said they were down, giving a rounded balance of +18%. This is up from +1% in February, which was the weakest reading since November 2013.
Retailers expect sales to continue rising next month, with a rounded balance of +21%, though expectations are the lowest since July last year.
CBI Director for economics Rain Newton-Smith said: “Sales have recovered following a tough month in February for retailers, and we expect solid growth to continue through Easter.
“The outlook ahead is looking bright, with household incomes buoyed by zero inflation and improving pay packets, which will continue to encourage spending.
“However, the retail sector isn’t in the clear yet, with some companies, especially food retailers, still feeling the heat from stiff price competition.”