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Economy

Retail sales bounce back in February

Retail sales have bounced back slightly February 2019, as the quantity bought increased by 0.4% during the month.

In the three months to February 2019, the quantity bought increased by 0.7% when compared with the previous three months, with strong growth in non-store retailing and fuel.

Year-on-year growth in the quantity bought in February 2019 increased by 4%, with growth in all main sectors, while the only sub-sector to show a decline within non-food stores was household goods stores at negative 1.3%.

However, the monthly fall in food stores was the strongest decline since December 2016 at negative 1.5%, reversing the increase of 0.9% in January 2019, with food retailers suggesting that “getting back to normal” following the January sales had contributed to this fall.

Online sales as a proportion of all retailing also fell to 17.6% in February 2019 from the 18.8% reported in January 2019; this was a year-on-year increase of 9.4% when compared with February 2018.

Rhian Murphy, head of retail sales at the ONS, said: “Retail sales continued to bounce back in the three months to February with strong increases in fuel sales and online shopping. Food growth slowed, however, due to a significant fall for supermarkets, specialist food and alcohol stores in February after the sales and promotions seen in January came to an end.”

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