The Office for National Statistics says it's the first quarterly fall since 2013 and the biggest in seven years.
Price increases are being blamed.
The ONS also said in March 2017, the quantity bought in the retail industry is estimated to have increased by 1.7% compared with March 2016 and decreased by 1.8% compared with February 2017; decreases are seen across the four main store types.
Average store prices (including fuel) increased by 3.3% on the year, the largest growth since March 2012; the largest contribution came from petrol stations, where year-on-year average prices rose by 16.4%.
Online sales (excluding automotive fuel) increased year-on-year by 19.5% and by 0.5% on the month, accounting for approximately 15.5% of all retail spending.
Commenting on today’s official retail figures, Kate Davies, ONS Senior Statistician said on their website: "Today’s retail sales figures show a decline on the month and on the three months to March, which coincides with quarter 1 in 2017.
"This is the first time we’ve seen a quarterly decline since 2013, and it seems to be a consequence of price increases across a whole range of sectors."
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