Thursday, March 26, 2009
Retail sales down - no big budget giveaway
Posted by David Smith at 10:30 AM
Category: Thoughts and responses

Official retail sales figures reflected what many retailers have been saying - things are tough out there. Sales fell by 1.9% between January and February and the annual growth rate slowed to just 0.4%. All categories of sales fell, though food held up better than non-food. More details here. Some retailers reported snow disruption for parts of the month, though there is no mention of that as a factor in the official briefing note.

Reports overnight suggest that there will be no significant giveaway in the April 22 budget, Gordon Brown having bowed to the reality of the very weak state of Britain's public finances. There was better news on business investment, revised to a decline of 1.5% in the fourth quarter from an initially-estimated 3.9% fall.