Clothing sales improved in February with kidswear leading the way as retailers reported their strongest growth in five months.
Like-for-like non-food sales rose 1.9% in the three months to the end of February according to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor. Online sales were up by 10.9% compared to the same month last year.
Kidswear sales were fuelled by strong sales of jackets and casualwear. After a good January, menswear sales were dampened, however a number of retailers noted that jeans sold well.
Within womenswear, knitwear performed well along with dresses and floral prints as some consumers began to refresh their wardrobes with spring products.
Conversely, footwear was the weakest performing category, as a later half term in the South East of England distorted the month. However brogues and ankle boots were the most popular.
Some retailers said there were fewer promotions due to better stock management.
Helen Dickinson, director general, of the BRC, said: “Clothing was a stand-out performer in February. The signs are that customers seized the chance to stock up on end-of-season promotions while also responding well to new ranges.”
In February, general UK retail sales rose 2.7% on a like-for-like basis while total sales were up 4.4%. Excluding distortions caused by the timing of Easter in previous years, total sales grew at the fastest rate since February 2010 (4.5%). Like-for-like sales growth was the fastest since December 2009.
Dickinson said: “After the disappointing figures that brought 2012 to a close, it’s reassuring that the sales momentum established during an encouraging January has built not faded. There are certainly highly-welcome signs here of gradual improvement and customers feeling a bit more positive.”
However she added: “But it’s too soon to assume this represents the permanent turnaround we need.”