Britain’s retailers received a respite from a two-month losing streak when spending in high street stores and online bounced back in February.
The Office for National Statistics said retail sales volumes were up by 1.4% on January and 3.7% higher than in February 2016.
Sterling rose on the currency markets after news of the rise was announced, but the ONS said the bounce back had failed to recoup all the ground lost in December and January. It noted that spending was being curtailed by higher petrol prices.
In the three months to February – considered a better guide to the underlying trend than the monthly figure alone – sales were 1.4% lower than in the quarter ending in November.
The ONS said the quarterly fall matched that seen in January, which represented the weakest retail performance since March 2010, when the economy was just emerging from recession.
Prices of goods were 2.8% higher in February than a year earlier, the sharpest increase since March 2012, with the cost of petrol up by more than 18%.
Kate Davies, the ONS’s senior statistician, said: “February’s retail sales figures show fairly strong growth, though the underlying three-month picture shows falling sales as February’s figures follow two consecutive months of decline in December and January.
via The Guardian
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