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UK retail sales rise 2.5% in February

Official figures released today show that retail sales rose 2.5% in February compared the same month last year. Sales increased by 2.1% compared to January when sales were impacted by snow.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

UK retail sales rise 2.5% in February

The Office for National Statistics said the  February growth was driven by an increase in spending on non-food items, particularly computers and technology products. UK shoppers spent a total of £6.3 billion a week in the month compared to £6.1 billion in February 2012.

Online sales also rose and accounted for 9.7% of all retail spending excluding fuel.

The British Retail Consortium said the figures were broadly in line with its own findings.

BRC director general, Helen Dickinson, said: "There are some reassuring signs here that people are starting to feel a little more positive, but it's too early to gauge whether this is a temporary upturn or if we're on the cusp of more secure and lasting revival. 

"Yesterday's Budget brought some good news for consumers which should help to lift the mood further and build on this boost to spending power, but it was disappointing that direct help for high streets barely had a look-in. This gradual growth certainly can't be taken for granted, as the mixed picture of the last few months confirms that the path to recovery remains a fragile one."

Ian Harris, CEO of search engine marketing agency Search Laboratory, commented: "It’s pleasing to see that both retail sales and spend have increased somewhat significantly from February 2012 and that this growth looks to be being fuelled by online retail.

"Once again, online retail figures are showing impressive growth, especially in food sales which are up 9.3% year-on-year. This particularly is proof that online retail is increasingly becoming the norm for consumers and whereas before people may have only bought clothes and goods via the internet more and more are now doing their grocery shopping online as well."   

 

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