Start of spring gives retailers the biggest lift in sales for six months
The British Retail Consortium's (BRC) retail sales figures for last month will be a welcome break for many. The organisation calculated that retail sales have risen 1.8 per cent on a like-for-like basis - the best since September. In addition, total sales grew 5.4 per cent year on year, an increase not seen in the UK for nearly a year.

For some retailers, the Easter week boosted trade, especially during sunny spells. However, the increase was not widespread and dropped back after the holiday.

Big-ticket items, including electricals and furniture, continued to suffer. Clothing benefited from the warmer weather as winter receded, but trading was tough overall throughout the month.

BRC director-general Kevin Hawkins (pictured) said: 'Easter trading wasn't bad, given that it fell early this year, but the rest of the month was hard going for most retailers. Even then, the modest uplift in sales during Easter week was driven in many cases by discounting - underlying consumer sentiment has not changed.'