UK Retail sales figures plunged further than expected in March, to continue the downward trend of December and January, after a brief respite in February. The figures from the ONS came in at -1.5%, 1% lower than the 0.5% consensus prediction.
This is the clearest indication that rising prices, attributed by many to the weak pound and the associated rising costs of importing products, are starting to bite the UK consumer.
The UK seems to have been fairly insulated from the armageddon scenario predicted by some in the wake of the UK's decision to leave the EU, however could these be the first signs of some of the implications of this decision?
We will be watching with eagle eyes.
The monthly fall in retail sales volumes in March means that, for the first time since the end of 2013, sales volumes fell compared with the previous quarter. This will drag down economic growth in the first quarter of 2017. Kate Davies, ONS senior statistician, said that the fall in sales volumes “seems to be a consequence of price increases across a whole range of sectors”.