Non-store retailers steal ahead in wet February

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Total UK sales up 2.2% but non-store sales rocket 15.5%.

Online and mail order non-food sales were up 15.5 percent in February compared with the same month last year, boosted by wet weather, according to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

The sector also showed a month-on-month increase on January when year-on-year sales rose 14.6 percent.

Total like-for-like UK retail sales rose 2.2 percent last month compared with February last year when sales dipped 1.8 percent due to snow and consumer caution. On a total basis, sales rose 4.5 percent against only 0.1 percent growth in February 2009.

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Total non-food sales recovered, showing a growth of 1.9 percent, after being hit by snowfall in January but the growth has been measured against larger declines in the same period in 2009.

BRC director-general Stephen Robertson said: “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.

"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."

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