UK retail sales rise before lockdown easing
Retail sales in Britain soared in March as consumers prepared for a partial lifting of virus-related restrictions, based on the official data which also reflected record peacetime government borrowing.
A 5.4% increase in sales volume in March from February was reflected in the official data released by the Office for National Statistics. Clothing stores led the gainers in the retail sector.
On separate data, Britain’s government borrowed 303.1 billion pounds ($420.1 billion) in the financial year which ended in March. This means that the debt ballooned by 246 billion pounds in 2020 and the biggest share of the economy in peacetime.
Borrowing stood at 14.5% of economic output, the highest such ratio since 1946, after World War Two, when it was 15.2%.
The U.K.’s economy fell by about 10%in 2020, its biggest collapse in more than three centuries. The International Monetary Fund said the British economy will expand by more than 5% in 2021 and 2022.