British retail sales rose far more than expected in March, official data showed Thursday, despite political uncertainty over Brexit and turmoil for department stores.
Total sales increased by 1.1 percent compared to February, when they rose 0.6 percent, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.
The March reading easily outshone analysts' consensus forecast for an increase of just 0.3 percent, according to a Bloomberg poll.
"Consumers have undeniably been resilient and have seemingly so far largely brushed off Brexit concerns," said EY economist Howard Archer.
Rising sales could reflect stockpiling by some consumers ahead of the original Brexit date of March 29, Archer added.