UK retail sales steady as clothing boosts non-food stores

Clothing sales jump offsets food store declines as UK retail sales hold steady in February.

UK retail sales steady as clothing boosts non-food stores
UK Retail Sales

UK retail sales held flat in February, beating expectations for a decline, as a jump in clothing purchases offset a drop in food store volumes.

Non-food store sales volumes rose by 0.7% in February 2024, boosted by a 1.7% increase in clothing sales from new collections, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). However, food store sales volumes fell by 0.3%, while fuel retailers also saw declines.

The flat reading for overall retail sales follows an upwardly revised 3.6% surge in January. Economists had forecast a 0.3% monthly drop for February.

"Online sales increased, particularly for clothing retailers, as wet weather affected footfall," the ONS said.

Year-on-year, UK retail sales fell by 0.4% in February, compared to a 0.5% increase in January and better than the 0.7% annual decline predicted.

Charlie Huggins of Wealth Club commented: "Clothing sales were notably strong in February, rising by 1.7%, while online sales grew at the fastest rate since July 2023. This suggests that UK consumers may be quietly growing in confidence."


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