Poor weather last month drove shoppers online as etail sales rocketed 12%, but shoppers shunned visits to physical stores amid the ice and snow.
Figures released by Barclaycard show that shoppers flooded online, but spending in physical stores rose just 0.4% year on year, the Daily Mail reported.
Retail spending rose 2.5% year on year, with electricals and flower retailers enjoying a surge in sales, offset by predicted lacklustre spending in fashion and DIY.
Barclaycard said spending at DIY retailers fell 11% during the month, which included the crucial Easter weekend for home improvement stores – although the figures do not cover Easter Monday.
Women’s clothing sales fell 10% and men’s 7.4%, and Marks & Spencer is expected to report a decline in fourth-quarter clothing sales on Thursday.
Mother’s Day drove a 22% boom in online flower sales, while electricals rose 36% online and 8.4% in-store.
Department store sales rose 18% online. However, in-store custom fell 7.5% amid the poor weather.
Barclaycard Consumer Europe chief executive David Chan said: “The weather had a big impact on spending in March – especially for online retailers, as they continued to take more of every pound spent compared with the same period last year, as shoppers stayed at home rather than venturing onto the high street.”
In a separate study by Visa Europe UK, in-store spending rose 0.6% year on year in March and the amount spent online increased 1.9% following a drop of 2.7% in February.
The report said mail and telephone orders were up 2.8%.