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Retail sales fall as cost of living hits household spending

PUBLISHED: 10:19 21 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:20 21 April 2017

The hours worked by retail staff have been on a downward trend for a year. Picture: Archant

The hours worked by retail staff have been on a downward trend for a year. Picture: Archant

Archant Norfolk 2010

Retail sales have recorded their biggest fall for seven years in the three months to March as rising living costs ate into household spending.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said sales fell by 1.4% over the three-month period, while also sinking well below expectations to drop by 1.8% on the month to March.

The drop is expected to trim 0.1 percentage points off UK economic growth in the first quarter of this year, according to the statistics agency.

ONS senior statistician Kate Davies said: “Today’s retail sales figures show a decline on the month and on the three months to March, which coincides with quarter one in 2017.

“This is the first time we’ve seen a quarterly decline since 2013, and it seems to be a consequence of price increases across a whole range of sectors.”

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