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Supermarket sales see sharp rise


Supermarket sales figures have risen by 3.2% year on year, according to a survey from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG.

The sharp rise in sales marks the strongest growth since January 2014, and food sales reported their strongest growth since July 2013 with a 1.8% rise. There figures show that there are signs of recovery in the grocery sector. The increase in March was the third consecutive increase, as like for like sales also increased by 0.2% in January and February.

Physical stores contributed more to growth than online sales for the first time since August, thanks to smaller convenience stores opening and prices falling. The boom in the housing market also helped increase the sales of furniture and household appliances, yet clothing sales were reduced due to colder weather leaving summer clothes untouched.

KPMG's head of retail, David McCorquodale, said:
"Price deflation continues to dog the sector, and while supermarkets may be selling more, they are pedalling hard to stand still. There is a long way to go before like-for-like food sales are back in positive territory."

Howard Archer, chief economist at IHS Global Insight, said:
"Given the importance of consumer spending to the economy, a solid BRC survey for March following on from the very healthy retail sales in February would be reassuring for hopes that GDP growth held up reasonably well in the first quarter."

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