Online and services sectors ride out storms

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The Independent Online

Freezing conditions across the UK haven't stopped people spending – but it was online retailers and the services sector that benefited.

Last month registered the third successive monthly rise in consumer spending, according to the latest data from Visa. Growth of 1.3 per cent in March was better than February's 0.9 per cent, and was the best growth figure since October 2010.

Visa found the main sources of spending growth were from the services sector – including everything from hairdressers to hotels and restaurants. Dr Steve Perry, commercial director at Visa Europe, said: "After relatively disappointing figures in February across all consumer spending, online sales increased by 1.9 per cent in March, signalling that despite the cold weather, consumers found ways to shop.

"With all the key measures in positive territory, these figures represent a strong end to the first quarter and should make a significant contribution to overall GDP levels."