Retail sales edge up in February
New figures have revealed that UK retail sales edged up 0.6% year-on-year on a like-for-like basis last month as consumers spent more of their income on essential items.
The British Retail Consortium and KPMG Retail Sales Index also shows that total sales rose by 1.6% in the month.
Over the three months to February, in-store sales of non-food items declined by 2.4% on a total basis and by 3.3% on a like-for-like basis.
Meanwhile, the same three-month period saw food sales increase by 2.8% on a like-for-like basis and by 4% on a total basis. Non-food retail sales decreased by 1.1% on a like-for-like basis while total sales edged down 0.5%.
Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive, said: “The headwinds to retail spending continued to blow strong in February. Inflation is still eating into shoppers’ budgets, pushing them to spend a greater share of their income on essentials and leaving less left over to buy discretionary, predominantly non-food, retail items. At the same time, weak growth in household earnings is keeping overall sales low.
“There’s little sign that consumer confidence, rather than financial reality, has much to do with the current weakness in spending. Furniture, often considered the bell weather of consumer confidence, actually saw sales improve in February as shoppers took advantage of credit facilities offered by retailers. The fact is that consumers want to spend, they just don’t have the resources to do so.”
Online sales of non-food products grew by 6.4% year-on-year in the month while the online penetration rate increased from 20.5% in February 2017 to 21.1% in February 2018.
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