UK retail sales grew 2.2% on a like-for-like basis in February, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The sales were against soft comparisons last year when snow and weak consumer confidence hit sales, which fell 1.8%.

Last month food sales slowed as shoppers had stocked up on groceries during January’s heavy snow. Lower food inflation and consumer caution also slowed food sales for the month.

Non-food sales faired better as shoppers returned to stores after the heavy snow. Internet and mail order sales continued to grow ahead 15.5% on last year.

BRC director general Stephen Robertson warned: “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 added: “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.”