UK retail sales saw a steady increase in the month of February, according to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

Total retail sales in the UK increased by 5.2% in February, compared with 6.7% in February 2022.

This was below the three-month average growth of 5.5% and above the yearly average growth of 2.4%.

Like-for-like sales increased by 4.9% in February compared with 2.7% in the same month last year. This was below the three-month average growth of 5.2% and above the yearly average growth of 1.6%.


Food was in growth year on year for the month of February.

Total food sales increased by 8.3% and like-for-like sales increased by 8.2% over the three months to February, surpassing the 12-month average growth of 1.6%.

Over the three months to February, total non-food sales grew to 3.2% and like-for-like sales grew to 2.7%. Non-food was in growth year on year for the month of February, being above the yearly average growth of 0.8%.

In-store non-food sales grew to 8.1% on a total basis and 7.3% on a like-for-like basis, below the 12-month average of 10.8%.

Online non-food sales decreased by 3.1% in February, compared with 28.4% in February 2022 – above the three-month average decline of 3.2% and the 7.7% yearly decline.

The penetration rate of online non-food items decreased to 38.5% in February, compared with 40.3% in February 2022.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Retail sales held up better than expected this February, though volumes remained down on last year. While the cost-of-living crisis has made customers increasingly price-sensitive, they are still ready to celebrate special occasions.

”This helped deliver strong sales of fragrance and jewellery for Valentine’s Day. Energy-saving appliances also continued to sell well, but the rush for warm coats and boots subsided as the January Sales splurge satisfied customer appetite.

“The economic backdrop means retailers face volatile trading conditions. Many consumers will be concerned as they prepare for further energy price and tax rises in April.

“To protect people from ongoing price rises for goods, government must avoid additional regulatory costs on business that compromise retailers’ ability to invest in lowering prices and in other areas that would contribute to the UK’s economic recovery.”

Paul Martin, UK head of retail for KPMG, said:  “With overall inflation running at around 10% and food inflation sitting nearer 20%, total sales growth for February of just 5% will be eating hard into retail margins and masking the true state of the sector’s health.

“Consumers are continuing to hold back on non-essential spending, with sales of clothing, footwear and accessories, which have been very influential in spending for many months, continuing to decline in February. 

“The outlook will continue to be challenging with falling consumer spending in real terms and, as more people choose to shop by occasion, retailers will be pulling out the stops for a buoyant Easter and Mothers’ Day.”

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