United Kingdom retail sales up 1.4 percent in February, says ONS

However, a three-month moving average used by the ONS showed the biggest decrease in seven years, with sales in the three months ending in February falling 1.4% compared to the same period a year ago, the biggest decline since March 2010.

The latest average wage data showed United Kingdom consumers earning less - wage growth fell to 2.2% from a previous month's 2.6% - while consumer price inflation rose to 2.3% from 1.8%.

However, over the three months to February the data still showed the biggest slide in sales volumes in nearly seven years, with sales down by 1.4 per cent.

In terms of other spending, households bought slightly more food - by quantity, sales rose 0.6pc on the year with shoppers spending £2.9bn per week.

Sales volumes will need to grow 3.2 percent month-on-month in March just to have been flat quarter-on-quarter.

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Economists had expected the poor quarterly performance to be even worse.

The London-based Centre for Economics and Business Research said that despite retail sales bouncing back, the sector is set for a challenging year.

In overall terms, both the value and volume of retail sales across the United Kingdom registered an uptick of 6.4% and 3.7% respectively on last month, with total retail sales amounting to £28.4bn. For multichannel retailers, which have both an online and in-store offering, growth in sales made on mobile devices was up slightly year-on-year, while the average basket value of online retail sales in general rose by almost £20.

Food store sales edged up 0.1 percent and non-food store sales climbed 1.8 percent in February after easing 0.3 percent each in January.

Howard Archer, chief United Kingdom and European economist for IHS Markit (Stuttgart: A1139A - news), said: "The economy's persistent resilience since last June's Brexit vote has been largely built on consumers keeping on spending".

  • Adam Floyd