UK March retail sales weakest since August - CBI

LONDON Tue Mar 26, 2013 11:11am GMT

A woman passes a shop promoting a closing down sale in the City of London January 20, 2012. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

A woman passes a shop promoting a closing down sale in the City of London January 20, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

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LONDON (Reuters) - British retail sales were flat this month compared with a year ago, a survey by the Confederation of British Industry showed on Tuesday.

The sales balance in the CBI's monthly distributive trades survey fell to zero in March from +8 in February. Analysts had forecast a reading of +11.

The expected sales balance for April rose to +15 from +9.

"This month we have seen a glimmer of hope for retailers fade away with the news that six months of sales growth has come to an end," said Barry Williams, chairman of the CBI panel that draws up the survey.

"All eyes are now on April when retailers expect sales to return to form."

The CBI said the flat performance was spurred by sliding sales in the clothing and footwear and leather categories.

That could be a reflection of cold weather during March.

Official data showed last week that retail sales volumes jumped by 2.1 percent in February - their biggest monthly rise since March last year - and were 2.6 percent higher on the year.

(Reporting by Olesya Dmitracova, writing by William Schomberg)

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