IoD – A strong end of quarter for manufacturing, but poor weather dampens retail

Commenting on ONS data that showed the economy growing by 0.1% in the first quarter of 2023, but a contraction of 0.3% in the month of March, Kitty Ussher, Chief Economist at the Institute of Directors, said:

“Manufacturing performed strongly coming out of the first quarter, but this was not enough to compensate for the difficulties experienced elsewhere in March, particularly by retailers and the motor trade. There were also other weaknesses in the service sector, such as the creative industries and general business services.

“The ONS suggests that the retail sector suffered from March being one of the wettest on record, reducing non-food sales compared to the previous month. It also seems likely that some households have reduced discretionary spending as they re-budgeted for rising mortgage costs.”