Retail suffers miserable March as coronavirus sparks record sales slump

Retail sales rose ahead of the coronavirus lockdown

Retail sales went into a tailspin in March as the country entered lockdown in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The year-on-year total sales decline of 4.3% over the month was the worst ever recorded by the BRC-KPMG monthly survey, and online trade body IMRG reported that online sales were also down.

In the first three weeks of the month, total sales advanced 12%, but lockdown resulted in a plunge of 27% in the final two weeks of the period, the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor found. Like-for-like sales slid 3.5% in March.

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