Before the coronavirus pandemic, retail sales flatlined amid February storms

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Retail sales took a battering from storms before the coronavirus pandemic
Some retailers saw the early spread of Covid-19 in China hit their supply chains due to factory closures.
// UK retail sales flatlined in February amid poor weather before the coronavirus pandemic
// ONS said sales volumes were flat for the month, slowing down from growth in January
// The amount spent by shoppers increased by 0.7 per cent, though this also represented a slowdown

UK retail sales flatlined in February amid poor weather before the coronavirus pandemic was fully felt by high street shops, new figures show.

The ONS said sales volumes were flat for the month, slowing down from growth in January as high streets continued to stagnate.

The amount spent by shoppers increased by 0.7 per cent, although this also represented a slowdown from the previous month.


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Storms throughout February weighed heavily on trading, although some retailers saw the early spread of Covid-19 in China hit their supply chains due to factory closures.

“Retail sales continued to decline in the latest three months due to weak sales across most store types, with February’s bad weather and flooding impacting on footfall,” ONS head of retail sales Rhian Murphy said.

“A small number of retailers also said that the impact of the coronavirus had affected sales of goods shipped from China.”

The ONS said sales growth was driven by online sales, with non-store retailing reporting a 4.2 per cent increase in volumes in February.

However, poor weather took shoppers away from town centres, with department stores reporting a 3.6 per cent decline for the month.

Food retailers saw sales grow, with volumes increasing by 0.6 per cent for February, although this represented a slowdown from the previous month.

On Wednesday, the CBI’s monthly retail tracker, which considers the first two weeks of March, revealed that the majority of high street stores saw sales plunge in the most recent period, although stockpiling drove sales increases at grocery stores.

with PA Wires

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