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UK retail sales up 6.7% in February

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·Finance Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·2-min read
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UK retail Pedestrians walk with shopping bags on
UK retail sales increased 2.7% on a like-for-like basis from February 2021. Photo: May James/Reuters

Consumers have put COVID fears behind them as retail sales jumped 6.7% in February, but the industry warns that the future remains uncertain.

According to figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), sales increased by 6.7% in February, ahead of the 3-month average growth of 6.5% but worse than the 12-month average growth of 11.3%.

In February 2021, non-essential retail stores were closed, pushing many consumers to buy goods online.

UK retail sales increased 2.7% on a like-for-like basis from February 2021.

Read more: Storm Eunice fails to deter UK shoppers in February

“Clothing and footwear categories witnessed the highest growth, most double digits in February as restrictions were lifted and consumers re-stocked wardrobes, heading back to offices and embracing life living with COVID,” Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, said.

Over the three-months to February, non-food retail sales increased by 12% on a total basis and by 6.9% on a like-for-like basis.

“February saw continued sales growth, although dampened by Storm Eunice and falling consumer confidence. Traditional try-before-you-buy products, like furniture and home accessories, as well as fashion and jewellery, continued to be the highflyers as more people returned to stores,” Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said.

Over the three months to February, in-store sales of non-food items grew 71.2%, above the 12-month average growth of 61.6%.

Read more: UK shop prices rise at highest rate since 2011

“The future is looking increasingly uncertain, with current demand unlikely to be sustained. Consumer confidence, falling in recent months, will likely tumble further against the backdrop of the current geopolitical events.

“The cost of living will continue to spiral due to global inflation, increasing energy bills and the rise in national insurance this Spring. With households facing lower disposable income, discretionary spend will be one of the first things to feel the squeeze.”

Online sales decreased by 28.4% during February, compared with growth of 82.2% February 2021.

Watch: The risks of buying now and paying later

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