February sees a tiny sales jump, while online figures soar

Retail sales rose 2.1 per cent in February, compared with the steep fall (of 8.2 per cent) in January.

In addition, the proportion of online retail sales hit a record 36.1 per cent last month while ‘non-essential’ stores remained closed under Coronavirus restrictions.

Household goods stores’ internet sales grew 35.9 per cent in February when compared with the previous month, and grew by a staggering 180.4 per cent against February 2020.

However, The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said overall sales were still down by 3.7 per cent on a year earlier before the impact of COVID.

Non-food stores provided the largest positive contribution to the monthly growth in February 2021 sales volumes, aided by strong increases of 16.1 per cent in household goods stores.

Volume sales, seasonally adjusted, Great Britain, Feb 18 to Feb 21

ONS Deputy National Statistician for Economic Statistics, Jonathan Athow, said: “Despite national restrictions, retail sales partially recovered from the hit they took in January.

“Household goods fared well, with feedback suggesting spending on home improvement and outdoor products boosted sales as consumers prepared for an easing of lockdown restrictions.

“The share of online sales increased to a record high reflecting the impact the pandemic has had on consumer spending.”

Stores lose £27bn in sales over lockdowns

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said that UK stores have now lost £27 billion from lost sales during the three lockdowns.

“Meanwhile, online sales remained strong,” she added, “providing a lifeline for customers, and rewarding those retailers who have adapted and grown their digital offering over the last 12 months.”