Like-for-like UK retail sales increased 9.5% last month against February 2020, according to the latest BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor, which covered the four weeks between 31 January – 27 February 2021.
The data revealed that over the three months to February, in-store sales of non-food items declined 38.9% on a total and 21.4% on a like-for-like basis.
Over the three months to February, food sales increased 7.6% on a like-for-like basis and 7.9% on a total basis, this was reportedly higher than the 12-month total average growth of 6.6%.
Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive, British Retail Consortium, said: “The Prime Minister’s roadmap to reopening prompted a burst in spending on non-food items, such as school uniforms.
“Meanwhile, the continued closure of so-called ‘non-essential’ retail has meant that non-food in store sales remained significantly down, underlining the importance of a successful reopening in April.”
Paul Martin, UK head of retail, KPMG added that after a “bleak January” sales performance and as the national lockdown continued, February saw the “mildest of upturns” for the retail sector, with just 1% year-on-year growth as high street stores across the country kept their doors closed.
He revealed that online channels recorded strong sales across all categories, with some even “registering triple figure growth”, whilst high street clothing and health and beauty categories “continue to suffer”, with sales falling by double figures.
Martin said: “Although the budget threw retailers a short-term lifeline with the extension of Covid support packages until after the summer, conditions will continue to be incredibly challenging as they face subdued demand, thinner margins and rising logistics costs, alongside the accelerated structural changes to the sector.”