UK retail sales rose 2.6 per cent in February, recovering after snow hit the high street and brought subdued figures in January, it has been announced today.
According to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the boost was driven by strong sales of tablets, computers and telecommunications equipment.
As the non-food sector thrived, online retailers also saw a sales increase over the month while the volume of sales of food declined by 1.2 per cent compared with a year earlier as sales values grew 0.7 per cent.
Commenting on the sales recovery, Richard Lowe, Head of Retail & Wholesale at Barclays, said:
“Today’s figures show spring has finally sprung on the high street with sales of computers, mobile technology, department stores and online retail all doing particularly well.
“Retailers will also be hoping for a boost from today’s opening of Trinity Leeds. With little new shop space coming into play in the UK in the foreseeable future, Trinity Leeds is, economically, extremely important to sector.”
February’s improvement follows a 0.7 per cent fall in January though confirms the improvement unveiled by the British Retail Consortium earlier this month; nonetheless, experts warn that any recovery is fragile.
Peter Saville, Partner at advisory and restructuring firm Zolfo Cooper, commented:“This is certainly a step in the right direction, but retailers can’t afford to take their eye off the ball.
“Companies such as Zara, Sports Direct and ASOS have all reported strong results recently, despite the macroeconomic difficulties.
“Struggling firms will need to follow in the footsteps of these successful retailers by staying on top of the latest trends, providing an innovative experience for shoppers and developing a multichannel approach.
“The lack of attention paid to retailers in yesterday’s Budget means that companies will now have to take matters into their own hands in order to overcome the tough conditions on the high street.”