U.K. retail sales fell in February after surging the most in more than two years the previous month during post-Christmas sales.
The 0.4 decline was less than the 0.7 percent drop forecast by economists in a Bloomberg survey. Clothing and shoes fell 0.4 percent, with poor weather delaying purchases of spring and summer attire, the Office for National Statistics said in a report on Thursday.
While the figures show a decline on the month, sales were up 3.8 percent compared with a year earlier. Consumer spending has helped to drive U.K. economic growth amid low inflation and an increase in employment. The Bank of England said on Wednesday household expenditure has remained “resilient” in recent months.
Excluding fuel, retail sales fell 0.2 percent in February from January and were up 4.1 percent on the year.
In the three months through February, while total sales rose 0.8 percent, clothing plunged 3.4 percent, the most since 1990. Though February was wetter than usual for the month, a milder winter in general curbed sales of cold-weather gear.
Measured by the deflator, prices at stores — including petrol stations — fell an annual 2.5 percent in February, the least since December 2014. Still, retailers have cut prices for 20 consecutive months.