Stat of the day: 0.2%

The amount retail sales rose last month

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013
Retail sales picked up unexpectedly last month, rising 0.2% from February’s figures. Hardly much of a rebound, but a small uplift nonetheless - especially when you compare the figure to February’s sales volumes, which dropped 0.9%.  

The Office for National Statistics said the hot weather had boosted sales at garden stores and toy stores, while smaller shops were also performing well; particularly those selling (surprise, surprise) royal wedding memorabilia. The launch of Apple's iPad 2 and the Nintendo 3DS also helped lift sales at computer stores.

Still, the growth came as a surprise to analysts. A string of companies have been releasing results that missed profit expectations: in fact, just this week, Tesco fell short of analyst expectations, predicting a challenging year ahead. There was also a very bleak survey from the British Retail Consortium last week, which suggested retail sales for March were down 1.9% on the same time last year. So this surprising growth will at least inject a bit of cheer into the British retail sector.

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