The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released figures showing a drop of 0.4 per cent in retail sales last month. Despite the fall, retail sales in the three months to March were up 2.0 per cent compared with the previous three months, the highest since July 2006.

The ONS revised its earlier figures for sales in January and February. January sales, the ONS said, were up 1.5 per cent rather than 1.1 per cent, while February sales were up 1.1 per cent rather than 1.0 per cent.