London’s retail sales outperformed the UK last month, but were well below those achieved the previous March.

Sales rose 2 per cent on a like-for-like basis in March. Although well down on the 10.8 per cent achieved in March 2007, the uplift was better than the 1.6 per cent fall suffered by the UK as a whole.

The London Retail Consortium reported that clothing and footwear sales were tough, as was homewares. Food retailers, however, benefited from the timing of Easter.

The strength of the euro meant western Europeans were the main overseas shoppers. US visitors continued to be put off by the weakness of the dollar.

KPMG head of retail Helen Dickinson said: “Although there are significant differences in the performance of individual London retailers, they all continue to hope that shoppers in the capital will be more resilient to the spending slowdown. The threat of large numbers of City job losses does not bode well.”