Furniture sales improve in February

Miranda GreerMar 25, 2017

February's figures break a two-month trend of falling sales after retail sales suffered their biggest drop since April 2012 in December, then saw their worst growth in more than three years in January.

On average, consumers in Great Britain spent £1.0 billion ($1.35 billion) on retail ecommerce purchases each week in February 2017.

The latest 3-month data registered a decline of 1.4% which was the weakest outcome since March 2010 and there has been a net slowdown in sales.

"A comeback for UK Retail Sales in February challenges the notion that UK consumers are delaying activity due to the overhang of Brexit uncertainty", Saxo Bank's head of FX strategy John Hardy said.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed a 1.4 per cent uptick in retail sales over February.

"The latest United Kingdom retail sales figures will provide some reassurance that higher inflation has not brought growth in consumer spending to a halt", said Paul Hollingswoth of Capital Economics.

Food store sales edged up 0.1 percent and non-food store sales climbed 1.8 percent in February after easing 0.3 percent each in January.

"As a result, with credit conditions remaining supportive, and consumers' confidence in the outlook for their own finances still quite strong, we expect overall household spending to slow this year, rather than collapse outright", Hollingsworth said.

There were, however, notable price increases on a monthly basis across many sectors with prices at household goods stores, for example, reported to have risen 2.6% on the month. The ONS added that, excluding auto fuel sales, the gain stood at 1.3%. This was also faster than the expected 2.6 percent. Economists had forecast a 3.2% rise.

The policymaker noted that the weakness in sterling represents a sweet spot for exporters, but it is unlikely to last indefinitely. Online sales account for 15.3pc of all retail spending.

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