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."

Subscribe to Investomania for more business news and updates.