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U.K. Retail Sales Drop Unexpectedly; PSNB Declines

U.K. retail sales declined unexpectedly in March due to a fall in non-food store sales, data from the Office for National Statistics showed Thursday.

Retail sales including auto fuel dropped 0.5 percent on a monthly basis in March, reversing a 0.6 percent rise in February. This was the first fall in six months. Economists had forecast a 0.4 percent rise for March.

Food store sales were up 0.4 percent, while non-food sales slid 0.1 percent from February.

Excluding auto fuel, sales advanced 0.2 percent from prior month, slower than February's 0.6 percent increase and the expected growth of 0.5 percent.

On a yearly basis, retail sales including auto fuel expanded 4.2 percent after rising 5.4 percent in February. Sales were expected to grow again 5.4 percent.

Meanwhile, growth in sales excluding auto fuel improved to 5 percent from 4.8 percent. But weaker than the expected expansion of 5.5 percent.

Another report from the ONS showed that public sector net borrowing excluding interventions decreased by GBP 0.4 billion from last year to GBP 7.4 billion in March. The expected level was GBP 7 billion.

In the financial year ending 2015, PSNB totaled GBP 87.3 billion; a decrease of GBP 11.1 billion compared with the same period in the financial year ending 2014.

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