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Retailers hit by cold weather

The anticipated Easter upsurge in High Street sales is likely to have been hit by the spate of cold weather, it has been predicted. Earlier this month, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said it expected a slight rise in retail spending over Easter. However, analysis from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) suggests that the snow, wind and sleet witnessed across the country prompted shoppers to stay away from UK high streets. CEBR predicts that this will result in a 14 per cent year-on-year drop in sales, bringing the total spend down from £10.6 billion to £9.1 billion. The DIY and garden sector is thought to have been hit especially hard, with sales expected to drop by 50 per cent. A statement from the BRC conceded that the sales boost was now unlikely. The BRC said: "Easter is traditionally more important than Christmas for DIY and garden store sales. However, this year a combination of Easter being early, poor weather and household budgets feeling the pinch, there's lots of discounting in stores. "Last year, Easter was in April and the weather was sunny, which helped to boost trade."

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