"Some improvement" for books as March sunshine warms retail

"Some improvement" for books as March sunshine warms retail

The British Retail Consortium's (BRC) sales monitor for March has revealed "some
improvement" in sales of print books as UK retail sales saw an uplift of 1.3% on a like-for-like basis on March 2011.

Analysts picked out Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games novels as bestsellers, adding that "print book sales showed some improvement but were still well down on a year ago".

There was "strong demand" for the new iPad as "computers continued to sell well, led by laptops and tablets" the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor said for the period of 26th February to 31st March.

Stephen Robertson, BRC director general, said: "The unusually warm weather in March brought some welcome sunshine into the lives of non-food retailers . . .
 
 "It's worth remembering the sales comparison is against the weakest month of last year, largely caused by the movement of Easter in the calendar, and we'll have to see whether this is additional spending or just shopping which has happened earlier than usual."

He added: "The overall retail environment is still difficult… The warmth of March was a help but it will take more than a week of sunshine to transform  retailers' fortunes."
 
Like-for-like sales were up 1.3% across all categories year on year, and 3.6% in total year on year.

The three-month weighted average like-for-like sales from January to March for non-food sank 0.4% year-on-year, while total non-food sales rose 1.5%.

Online sales of non-food goods showed stronger growth, albeit in comparison with a very weak 7.5% gain in March 2011. Sales were up 13.9% year on year and the strongest gain since December's 18.5% raise.