UK retail sales hit by bad weather in February
UK retail sales in February fell for the first time in almost a year as bad weather put a dampener on High Street spending.
Data from the British Retail Consortium showed that like-for-like sales fell 1% compared to the same month last year.
February's fall comes after a 3.9% like-for-like increase in January, and marks the first drop since April.
Online sales did better, with non-food sales figures growing 14.3% year-on-year.
"February saw a hiatus on the high street, with online sales soaring while in-store sales stalled," said David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG.
"There's no doubt inclement weather exacerbated this trend, but it certainly underscores the importance of having a sophisticated online operation."
Online sales represented 17.5% of total non-food sales, against 15.4% in February 2013, according to the figures, compiled by the BRC and KPMG.
Fiercely competitive campaigns by discount grocers saw a slowdown in food price inflation.
But the recovery in the housing market had a positive effect on sales of furniture and home accessories.
Helen Dickinson, director at the BRC, said: "Overall, these figures reflect the considerable challenges still faced by consumers and retailers in the UK. It remains to be seen how the industry will fare over 2014."