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Sales growth hits three year high

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Retail sales have shrugged off the impact of the weather and shown the highest quarterly growth since December 2009, according to the British Retail Consortium.

BRC figures show like-for-like retail sales rose 1.9% in March, with total sales up 3.7%. Adjusted for the BRC's inflation Shop Price Index, total retail sales values grew 2.3% in real terms.

'Easter distortions aside, the three-month average figures paint a positive picture and show the highest like-for-like sales increases since December 2009. On the back of strong January and February results, this may be the beginning of a positive trend and will be welcomed by many retailers,' says David McCorquodale, KPMG head of retail.

'This is a positive result, which rounds off a first quarter of cautious optimism for many retailers. Easter fell in March this year but April in 2012, which helps this year's figures, especially for items which tend to sell well over the long weekend like food and homewares. But even if we strip out the data for the last week of March, performances are encouraging, considering the weather impact. Snow and the prolonged cold were not ideal but not a disaster,' says Helen Dickinson, BRC director general.