Discount stores drive surprise jump in February retail sales

24th March 2023 | Jack Oliver

Retail sales rose by 1.2% in Great Britain in February, a further increase upon the 0.9% rise recorded in January.

However, sales were still down 3.5% against the same period in 2022, Office for National Statistics figures revealed.

Sales in non-food stores increased by 2.4%, driven by strong sales in discount department stores.

Sales volumes (the amount of product sold) in department stores rose by 5.5%, while clothing stores saw an increase of 2.9%.

Food sales volumes rose by 0.9%, which can be attributed to a reduction in pub and restaurant spending as the cost-of-living crisis puts a squeeze on consumer budgets.

Sales values in retail stores increased by 1.6%, as inflation continues to push up prices.

The amount of product bought in retail stores returned to pre-COVID levels (February 2020), however the total amount of spend was 16.8% higher, again a likely symptom of increased inflation.

Inflation in February saw a surprise increase to 10.4%, driven by the price of food.


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