Investing.com – Retail sales in the U.K. fell much more than expected in March, dampening optimism over the British economy, official data showed on Friday.
In a report, U.K. Office for National Statistics said that retail sales slumped 1.8% in March from the prior month, compared to the previous 1.7% advance which was revised from a previous gain of 1.4%.
Analysts had expected March’s reading to drop by only 0.2%.
Year-on-year, retail sales increased 1.7% last month, compared to forecasts for growth of 3.4% and February’s 3.7% advance.
Core retail sales, which exclude automobile sales and fuel, decreased by 1.5% in March, compared to the prior 1.6% advance which was revised from an initial gain of 1.3%.
Analysts had expected core retail sales to decline by 0.4% last month.
Year-on-year, core retail sales rose 2.6% in March, compared to the previous month’s 4.1% increase and the consensus forecast for 3.9% advance.
In an immediate reaction, GBP/USD traded at 1.2796 from around 1.2801 ahead of the release of the data, EUR/GBP was at 0.8379 from 0.8377 earlier, while GBP/JPY traded at 139.63 compared to 139.71 before the report.
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