Retail sales showed “strong growth” year on year in terms of value and volume in February, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows.
Year-on-year sales were up 4.1% by value and 3.8% by volume, excluding fuel.
In the last three months, sales grew 3.9% by value and 3.6% by volume, excluding fuel, compared to the same period in 2018.
The ONS figures show non-food stores were the largest contributor towards the increase seen in February both for quantity bought and amount spent.
However, online sales as a proportion of all retail fell by just over 1 percentage point in February, down to 17.6% from the 18.8% reported in January. Online sales year on year for February grew by 9.4% in terms of amount spent.
The monthly fall in food stores was the strongest decline since December 2016, down 1.5% following an increase of 0.9% in January. Food retailers suggested this fall was “getting back to normal” following January sales.
Barclays head of retail and wholesale Ian Gilmartin said: “It’s another fairly strong set of numbers from the ONS, with good year-on-year growth across most of the retail industry. That yearly comparison is flattered slightly as the last couple of days in the February 2018 reporting period were hit by the Beast from the East, in contrast to the mild February we’ve enjoyed this time around, but the underlying story in these figures is positive with retailers somehow finding a way to keep us spending.
“Food softened a bit, but shouldn’t cause undue concern for the supermarkets as discounting in January probably skewed spending patterns and food sales are coming off a relatively high base.”