Retail sales rebounded in February following two months of sharp declines, despite continued price rises across fashion and homewares.
Sales volumes excluding fuel increased 1.1% year on year between January 28 and February 24.
Retail revenues excluding fuel rose 3.6% during the same period, according to data from the Office for National Statistics.
Shop prices increased 2.5% during the month compared to last February.
Month-on-month, sales volumes and values both climbed 0.8%, the ONS said, beating analysts’ expectations.
The monthly increase in sales volumes came after steep declines in December and January, which drove sales volumes down 0.4% in the wider three-month period.
The ONS data was gathered prior to the disruption sparked by the ‘Beast from the East’, which battered the UK on February 28.
ONS senior statistician Rhian Murphy said: “Retail sales did grow in February, with increases seen in food, non-store and fuel, but this followed two months of declines in these sectors.
“However, the underlying three-month picture is one of falling sales, mainly due to strong declines across all sectors in December.”
Deloitte head of retail Ian Geddes said: “The retail sector is facing unprecedented challenges, and the considerable media coverage around some well-known high street names is an indication that there is little room for error.
“That said, retailers should find some encouragement by the improving economic conditions and the fact that the squeeze on consumer spending power appears to be easing.”