Commenting on the retail sales figures for March, David Kern, Chief Economist at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:

“The retail sales figures for March show a small increase, rather than the modest decline most analysts predicted.  Although better than expected, this improvement follows a disappointing fall in February, so we cannot underestimate the continued fragility of the economic recovery.

“This news supports our belief that next week’s figures will confirm an increase in GDP in the first quarter. However, it is clear that future economic growth is still facing many obstacles in the months ahead. We have not yet seen the full impact of the government’s deficit-cutting measures on jobs and spending. The outlook remains uncertain, and it would be wrong to use this welcome improvement in retail sales to justify an early increase in interest rates. Every effort must be made to sustain the economic recovery.”