Caution over February retail rebound

The British Retail Consortium has urged shops not to get too carried away by sales figures that show strong growth in February.

Total retail sales figures were up 4.5% over the month, with a 2.2% like-for-like increase, but the BRC said the figures were distorted by the slump caused by the January snow.

Over the quarter covering December to February like-for-like sales were 2.1% ahead, with total sales up 4.1%, according to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

Food and drink sales growth slowed after shoppers stocked up in January, the BRC said.

Internet and mail order showed strong growth in February, with sales 15.5 % higher than a year ago.

“Despite appearances these results are not that strong,” said BRC director general Stephen Robinson. “Consumer confidence is certainly up on this time last year.

“When the weather-related distortions are stripped away, it’s clear consumers are still being cautious.”