UK Retail Sales Recover In February - Finance News

ONS uk retail sales feb 2017

ONS senior statistician Kate Davies said: "February's retail sales figures show fairly strong growth, though the underlying three month picture shows falling sales".

Rising inflation, and higher fuel prices in particular, ate into households' disposable income, leaving less for other purchases, the Office for National Statistics said.

United Kingdom retail sales had a huge month in February, confounding the forecasts of economists who had predicted stuttering growth in the month, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics.

The FTSE 350 General Retailers Index was up 1.52% on the day, having lost 3.08% over the past three months.

Retail sales have been suffering their worst slump in almost seven years as inflation bites - despite a partial bounce-back last month.

"The monthly growth in February is seen across all store types".

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EMarketer expects United Kingdom retail ecommerce sales to rise 12.0% in 2017 to £77.74 billion ($104.93 billion) and represent 18.8% of total retail sales for the year.

HSBC economist Liz Martins said: "For the optimists, the fact that this bounce was considerably stronger than expected may suggest the slowdown over the winter months was temporary, and the United Kingdom consumer remains in good shape".

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

The total volume of furniture and lighting retail sales for February also improved up from -8% to -4.4%, but remained behind last year's figure of a positive 11.8%.

The retail sales volume grew 1.4% month-on-month in February, reversing a 0.5% fall in January and bigger than the 0.4% expected increase.

The ONS said the Consumer Price Index measure of inflation reached 2.3% last month, up from 1.8% in January.

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