The British Retail Consortium has released its Economic Briefing Report for March 2021.
- The latest UK economic data has been significantly better than expected. GDP fell by 2.9% in January compared to December, beating expectations of a drop of 4.9%. OBR forecast in March that the UK economy would regain its pre-pandemic size in the Q3 2022, six months earlier than it forecast in November.
- Unemployment, unexpectedly, fell to 5% in January and the number of UK furloughs dropped by 5% in February. It looks like the economy has learnt to cope with health restrictions and can operate at higher capacity.
- BRC-KPMG sales rose in February by 1.0%, although Non-Food sales remained in negative territory (-5.5% over the three months to February).
- But the better-than-expected performance of the UK economy was overshadowed by January trade figures, with EU food exports down 75.5% on the year and EU food imports down 24.8%.
- However, there is a strong optimism for a robust rebound from households and businesses alike.
As a member of the BRC, the MIA can share the full report with our members. If you would like to see the full report, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org