International Finance

UK shoppers keep economy afloat as businessmen cut investments

UK retail sales, Brexit deadline, UK shopping, UK investment
Retail sales volume rose 6.7% year-on-year in March boosting the sluggish UK economy

British shoppers boosted the UK economy by casting aside worries about the Brexit deadline to lift retail sales volume to the highest in two and a half years in March. Annual retail sales surged 6.7 percent year-on-year in March this year over the corresponding period last year, an Office of National Statistics report said. This is the highest growth in retail sales volume since October 2016.

Milder weather in March led to the rise in retail sales volume this year, ONS quoted store owners as saying. Last March’s sales were impacted by the ‘Beast from the East’ snowstorms that hit the country. The monthly growth rate in the quantity bought at stores for March 2019 rose 1.1 with food stores and non-store retailing creating the most impact.

Sequentially, retail sales volume rose 1.6 percent in the first quarter to March over the previous quarter in October to December 2018. The first three months of 2019 saw sustained growth in retail sales volume. All types of stores, except department stores and houseware stores, saw increases in sales volumes.

Rising credit card defaults is a threat to the growth in retail sales volume. Credit card defaults rose significantly in the March quarter to the highest level since 2015.

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