UK retail sales rise again in February

Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Special promotions came to an end in February

Retail sales rose in February, up by 0.4% on the previous month, official figures show.

But sales at food stores saw the biggest fall since December 2016, the Office for National Statistics said.

Separate data showed government borrowing fell to £0.2bn in February from £1.2bn a year earlier.

After 11 months of the current financial year, government borrowing stands at £23.1bn, 44% lower than in the same period last year.

Unusually warm weather in February contributed to the rise in retail sales, said the ONS, boosting spending at garden centres and on sporting equipment.

The ONS’s head of retail sales, Rhian Murphy, said strong increases in fuel sales and online shopping had also driven the continued “bounce back”.

She added: “Food growth slowed, however, due to a significant fall for supermarkets, specialist food and alcohol stores in February after the sales and promotions seen in January came to an end.”