Business

UK retail sales hit by bad weather in February

Shoppers Image copyright PA
Image caption Bad weather saw a 1% drop in like-for-like sales in February, the British Retail Consortium said.

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."

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