February retail sales up but BRC urges caution

The value of retail sales rose 2.2% on a like-for-like basis last month over February 2009, when sales had dropped 1.8% owing to snow and consumer caution.

February retail sales up but BRC urges caution

On a total basis, sales in February were up 4.5% against only 0.1% growth last February, according to the British Retail Consortium.

Non-food recovered, having been hit by January’s snow, but growth was often against larger declines a year ago. And non-food non-store sales – via the internet, mail order and phone – were 15.5% higher than a year ago and compared with 14.6% in January.

The figures will be welcomed by retailers after a poor start to the year. But the BRC warn against reading too much into the results.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson said: “Despite appearances, these results are not that strong.
The growth is compared with very weak figures a year ago when February saw the worst of last winter’s weather, and this February’s performance was helped by sales postponed from January – particularly sales of non-food items such as homewares and fashion”.

He went on: “Consumer confidence is certainly up on this time last year but, with unemployment rising again, spending plans are falling.
When the weather-related distortions are stripped away, it’s clear customers are still cautious”.

Check Also

High streets concerned for Christmas trading, says BIRA

The British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) has reacted to the latest footfall report showing that …