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Barclays comment - ONS Retail Sales stats

Commenting on today’s ONS Retail Sales figures, Euan Murray, Relationship Director, Barclays Corporate Banking, Scotland, said: 

“A difficult month for retailers in March, with the impact of price rises taking a bite out of consumers’ willingness to part with their cash. Fuel was once a gain a major contributor to inflation in the sector, but accelerating price increases across the board appear to be having an influence on spending decisions. This is no surprise, as retailers contend with significant cost increases in their supply chains it is inevitable that some of this will have to be passed on to their customers. Calculating how willing the public are to accept higher prices will be crucial over the next few months, with retailers attempting to balance the need to protect their margins at the same time as retaining footfall. 

“It’s important not to overstate the severity of the figures, as the sector was still able to post monthly year-on-year growth and there were other bright spots, with clothing retailers posting good results boosted by a milder than usual March. The late Easter this year may also have slightly disrupted sales patterns, but the overall trend does suggest that it’s going to be a tricky time for the wider industry as we move towards the summer season.” 

https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/retailindustry/bulletins/retailsales/mar2017

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