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Deloitte comments on ONS retail sales

19 April 2024

Commenting on today’s ONS retail sales figures, Oliver Vernon-Harcourt, head of retail at Deloitte, said:

“For a second consecutive month, there was no growth in sales values or volumes in March, which will be disappointing for retailers who had expected a bigger boost from an early Easter bank holiday weekend. Despite a mixed start to the year, the aggregated volume sales for the first quarter of 2024 are the strongest since the summer of 2022, signalling the start of a recovery for retailers.

“Consumer confidence has hit its highest level in more than two years, with some consumers tentatively loosening their purse strings on more discretionary items, as seen in the rise in non-food sales last month. Though these are positive signs that the consumer sector is turning a corner, there is still much caution amongst retailers and consumers whose purchasing power was hit hard in the last two years. We hope that an improvement to weather conditions in the coming months, combined with bettering consumer finances, will translate into increased spending.”