Retail Week reports that total sales did grow, at least, increasing by 0.1 per cent, though this is down on the 3.2 per cent growth seen last month. Like-for-like sales grew by 1.1 per cent in January.
Stats for the three months ending February show a 1.4 per cent like-for-like fall, with non-food sales dropping by 5.3 per cent with many of retail’s post-Christmas sales coming to an end. Homewares and big-ticket items were hit particularly hard.
However, there was continued boom in non High Street sales, which climbed 12.3 per cent in February, though the number was down from the 19.2 per cent seen in January.
“These are disappointing figures,” BRC director-general Stephen Robertson stated. “It's now clear we were right to fear January's surprise year-on-year sales rise was just a discount-driven blip. Every non-food sector, apart from children's clothes, saw like-for-like sales down on a year ago.
“Early February snow didn't help but customers and retailers' difficulties run deeper. Meanwhile Government stands by. We're not looking for handouts but, from business rates increases to a supermarket ombudsman, we don't need costly new handicaps.”