Retailers avoided the traditional slowdown in shoppers in February with like-for-like sales up 0.2% compared to a 1% decrease last year. Overall, sales increased 1.7% year on year, up from a 0.7% rise in 2014.
Online sales grew 8.3% year on year, a drop from the 14.3% increase seen in 2014. However, shoppers continued to spend more online than in store on non-food items.
The latest BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor revealed that clothing was the largest contributor to bricks and mortar growth during the month. However, it also highlighted that some retailers felt the introduction of new spring ranges while the weather was cold forced earlier mid-season Sales events than in 2014.
British Retail Consortium director general Helen Dickinson said: “There was some specific excitement around swimwear, sandals and other ‘holiday’ items as consumers turned their mind to their getaways. Valentine’s Day also drove good sales of beauty products, jewellery and food related gifts.
“Fundamentally though, sales are up while prices fall which means that retailers are continuing to work hard to provide original products that excite customers at the right price. So far, 2015 has been positive for both retailers and consumers and it shows no signs yet of changing course.”
KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale said: “The fall off in the three-month average in non-food sales is a result of last year’s Black Friday dropping out. Retailers will be hoping that the arrival of spring can drive a more sustained upswing in spending as warmer temperatures encourage shoppers to splurge on new season outfits.”