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British Retail Sales up 2.2% in February

Source : IB Times

British retail sales values increased 2.2 per cent on a like for like basis in February thanks to the weather being warmer than at the same time last year. In February 2009 retail sales fell 1.8 per cent thanks to snow and consumer caution.

On a total basis, British retail sales increased 4.5 per cent in February, up from growth of just 0.1 per cent in February 2009.
Food sales in February slowed after the heavy snow in January saw people stocking up to endure the cold. Lower food inflation and consumer caution also inhibited food sales.
On the other side of the coin, non-food sales made a recovery after being hit by the weather in January, however the growth only came as a result of being measured against heavy declines last year.

Sales in homewares started to increase again, while sales growth of clothing and footwear grew stronger than in January.
Sales made via the internet, mail-order or the telephone were 15.5 per cent higher than the previous year, up from a figure of 14.6 per cent in January as consumers decided to stay and shop in the comfort of their own home rather than brave the snow.

Stephen Robertson, Director General of the British Retail Consortium, said, "Despite appearances, these results are not that strong."The growth is compared with very weak figures a year ago when February saw the worst of last winter's weather and this February's performance was helped by sales postponed from January – particularly sales of non-food items such as homewares and fashion.

"Consumer confidence is certainly up on this time last year but, with unemployment rising again, spending plans are falling. When the weather-related distortions are stripped away, it's clear customers are still cautious."

09 March 2010
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