Posted: Apr 20, 2012 4:49 AM
Updated: Apr 20, 2012 4:50 AM
LONDON (AP) Official data shows that retail sales in Britain rose by 1.8 percent in March, helped by warm weather and a spate of panic-buying for petrol.
The figures announced Friday by the Office for National Statistics were well ahead of the market consensus of 0.5 percent growth. The results contrasted with a drop of 0.7 percent in February.
Government warnings to prepare for possible industrial action by tanker drivers set off a wave of panic buying of petrol, contributing to a 4.9 percent gain in sales from fuel stores during the month.
Samuel Tombs, U.K. economist at Capital Economics, said the surge increased the chances that Britain's economy grew in the first quarter of the year.