High street sales have deteriorated sharply this month, dashing hopes that a slight upturn in February sales signalled a new willingness by consumers to spend.

63% of retailers said that sales volumes were lower than in March last year, compared with 19% who reported a rise, according to figures from the CBI. The resulting balance of –44% is one of the lowest figures recorded.

Retailers expect little respite from the gloom, with the gauge of future sales falling to –42%, down from –33% last month.

The Times, Daily Telegraph