UK retail sales declined as consumer demand was dampened by one of the wettest Februarys on record, according to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

Total UK retail sales increased by 1.1% year on year against a rise of 5.2% in February 2023. This was below the three-month average growth of 1.4% and the 12-month average of 3.1%.

Food sales grew 6% year on year over the three months to February, below the 12-month average growth of 7.9%.

Non-food sales saw a decline of 2.5% in the three months to February and remained in decline year on year.

In-store non-food sales fell 2.3% on a total basis in the three months to February, while online non-food sales slipped 4.1% against a 3.1% decline in the same period last year.


Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), said: “Consumer demand was dampened by [one of] the wettest Februarys on record, translating into a poor month of retail sales growth.

“Not even Valentine’s Day lifted customers out of the gloom and gifting products that typically sell well, like jewellery and watches, failed to deliver. On the sunnier side, rainy weather did brighten sales of toys as parents looked for ways to occupy their children indoors.

“With consumer confidence and demand remaining weak, the government must find ways to stimulate the economy. Retailers have some government-induced cost hurdles to jump in the coming months, including a £400m business rates rise based on last September’s 6.7% inflation rate.

“By using Wednesday’s Budget to reduce this, the Chancellor will lend a helping hand to much-needed investment in businesses and local communities up and down the country.”