LONDON (Reuters) - British like-for-like retail sales fell in March for the first time in two years and at the sharpest pace in nearly three years, a survey showed on Tuesday, in a sign consumers are feeling the impact of the credit crunch.
The British Retail Consortium said the value of like-for-like sales fell an annual 1.6 percent in March — the weakest performance since July 2005 and despite Easter falling in the month.
That left total sales — which include new floorspace — with the weakest annual rise since April 2005 of 1.1 percent, the BRC said.
The figures are likely to boost expectations for further interest rate cuts this year, after the Bank of England cut rates to 5 percent last week and said it was concerned about weakening prospects for economic growth.
“Here is the strongest evidence yet that customers are making serious economies and are increasingly concerned about the future,” said Stephen Robertson, BRC director general.
Reporting by Matt Falloon, editing by David Christian-Edwards