UK Retail Sales Boost Unexpectedly In February
The latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), revealed that retail sales volumes rose 1.5% during the month to a year earlier, coming in ahead of the predicted 1.3% rise.
There is a rise of 0.8% in sales when compared to January, but a three month basis sales dropped 1.4% due to a dismal December dragging down figures.
Values also jumped from 3.9% compared to last year and 0.8% compared to January, despite inflation slowing.
The largest contributor was once again food stores to growth in amount spent, rising 0.6%, while non-food was the only main sector to see a drop down by 0.3% on January.
“Retail sales did grow in February, with increases seen in food, non-store and fuel, but this followed two months of decline in these sectors”, according to ONS senior statistician Rhian Murphy.
Prices continue to rise across all store types but lower than the previous month due to a slow down in price growth. A stronger price rise continued in clothing and household goods stores.
BRC’s head of insights and analytics Rachel Lund added: “February’s retail sales figures showed that consumers are still feeling the grip of inflation on their spending power. When compared with the recent historical standards, growth in values and volumes on last year remained weak.
Consumers are not shy of splashing out when the offer is right but being careful with their spending. Shoppers took advantage of credit facilities and done furniture sales in the month of February and also Valentine’s day inspired sales of jewellery and watches.
Even with the first glimmers of a return to real wage growth for UK workers the market remains tough for retailers as this week growth in spending is likely to remain sluggish throughout the coming year.