Retail sales volumes rose a less-than-expected 0.4% in March, according to the Office for National Statistics, as concerns over unemployment and high debt levels tempered consumer spending. "March's disappointing growth in retail sales fuels our suspicion that the upside for consumer spending -- and hence overall economic growth -- will be limited in 2010 as households still face very challenging conditions," said Howard Archer, the chief UK economist at IHS Global Insight.

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