Retail sales growth solid but economy reliant on consumer spending

29th April 2014

·Retail sales volumes in March 2014: up 0.

1% on the month, up 4.2% on the year ·Average price of goods sold in March showed annual deflation of 0.5% ·The amount spent online increased 7.1% year on year in March 2014 Commenting on the retail sales figures for March 2014, published today by the ONS, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said: -The annual growth in retail sales volumes confirms that consumer spending will continue to be the main driver of the UK recovery in the months ahead. These figures are stronger than expected and hint that the GDP estimate for Q1 2014 due next week could show an acceleration from the 0.7% recorded last quarter. -While consumer spending must remain a crucial part of the economy, it is becoming increasingly important that the recovery becomes more balanced. Exports and investment must make a bigger contribution than they have done over the past year. The Bank of England must strive to maintain an investment-friendly environment, giving clarity on the future path of interest rates and delivering low inflation, while the government should intensify measures to improve access to finance and export support for viable firms.

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