UK March retail sales: First quarterly decline booked since 2013, a big miss

The office for National Statistics (ONS) published the UK’s retail trade report for the month of March, which showed that the UK consumer spending dropped sharply across the time horizon, missing markets’ expectations big time.

The UK’s retail volumes came in at -1.8% in March m/m, while the annualized retail spending slumped to 1.7%. Markets had estimated a -0.2% drop on a monthly basis; while a 3.4% reading was expected on yearly basis.

 Retail sales data excluding volatile items such as fuel also dropped more-than expected, arriving at -1.5% m/m and 2.8% y/y.

Kate Davies, ONS Senior Statistician noted, “Today’s retail sales figures show a decline on the month and on the three months to March, which coincides with quarter 1 in 2017. This is the first time we’ve seen a quarterly decline since 2013, and it seems to be a consequence of price increases across a whole range of sectors.”