Retail sales were flat in February despite wet weather and continued economic insecurity. 


Online retail spend rose by 2.1% over the month

February marked a more steady month for retail value sales, which fell marginally by 0.1% alongside flat volumes, according to the Office for National Statistics retail sales tracker. 

In fashion, sales grew thanks to new collections but this growth was offset by falls in grocery and fuel retailers. 

The amount spent online rose by 2.1% over the month, the largest rise since July 2023, as shoppers, particularly in fashion, switched to online shopping because of bad weather and increased promotions.

Department stores and household goods stores were the only two subsectors of the market where online value sales fell over the month.

Poor weather also contributed to a drop in food store sales volumes, which fell by 0.3% over the month following January’s recovery from a record fall in December 2023.

This monthly increase in online sales led to a rise in the proportion of sales made online, from 25.1% in January 2024 to 25.7% in February 2024.

February’s result follows an increase of 3.6% in January 2024, revised from an increase of 3.4%. 

Sales volumes fell by 0.4% in the three months to February 2024 when compared with the previous three months and by 1% when compared with the three months to February 2023.

Over the year, volumes fell 0.4% and remained below the 1.3% pre-Covid level.