March sales figures bleakMonday, 11 April 2011
The number of people shopping on the high street in March fell by 7 per cent compared to the
year before, according to stark new figures.
Over the first quarter of 2011, there were 4.8 per cent fewer shoppers than over the same period the year in 2010, underlying just how badly the consumer economy has been hit by squeezed household budgets.
The figures are from Synovate Retail Performance, which uses sensors to count customer traffic in thousands of shops across the UK. March was a terrible month on the high street. Consumers reined in their spending to preserve cash in the face of rising food and fuel prices. Increased cotton prices and January's VAT rise from 17.5 per cent to 20 per cent have added to price rises in shops, further discouraging Britons from spending. A raft of retailers have issued profits warnings and retail bosses say the gloom will last throughout the year.