Official figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show a dramatic slowdown in the retail sector and reinforce the urgent need for the measures outlined in the Budget to boost consumer confidence.SEVERE PRESSURE
Responding to the figures the British Retail Consortium (BRC) warns that customers and retailers face increasingly challenging times. The figures confirm the trends in identified by the BRC's own Retail Sales Monitor published last week,
The volume of non-food sales, particularly of clothing, footwear and household goods, has fallen more than expected compared with the previous month.
Director General of the British Retail Consortium, Stephen Robertson, said, “After a boost in January from one-off factors, including a final burst of pre VAT-rise spending, February’s figures are a more realistic picture of how things are for consumers and for retailers.
“Customers are seriously concerned about jobs and mounting pressures on their own finances. Food spending is holding up. It’s sales of things like clothing and household goods that are struggling most.
“On their own the changes to fuel costs announced in the Budget won’t make a huge difference to people’s pockets but should give a boost to struggling consumer confidence. Helping customers feel happier about the future, and emphasising growth plans as well as the cuts agenda, is crucial to boosting the retail sector which is in turn vital to the recovery.”
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