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Financial News: UK Retail Sales Stable Amid Wet Weather

UK Retail Sales Stable Amid Wet Weather

03/22/2024 - 05:45:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - UK retail sales steadied in February after rebounding at the start of the year, as poor weather lead to a reduction in footfall, data released by the Office for National Statistics showed on Friday.

Retail sales were unchanged from January, when they expanded by a revised 3.6 percent in January. Sales were forecast to fall 0.4 percent.

The ONS said sales volumes in clothing and department stores increased due to new collections but falls in food stores and fuel retailers offset this growth.

Food store sales decreased 0.3 percent and auto fuel sales were down 1.3 percent. Meanwhile, non-food store sales advanced 0.7 percent.

Excluding auto fuel, retail sales volume posted a slower monthly growth of 0.2 percent after climbing 3.4 percent in January.

On a yearly basis, overall retail sales volume fell 0.4 percent, in contrast to the 0.5 percent increase. Sales were forecast to drop 0.7 percent.

Likewise, excluding auto fuel, retail sales slid 0.5 percent, offsetting a 0.5 percent rise a month ago. Economists had expected an annual fall of 0.9 percent.

Capital Economics' economist Alex Kerr said shoppers largely shrugged off the unusually wet weather and provided further evidence that a rebound in retail activity and perhaps the wider economic recovery is underway.

Elsewhere, a monthly survey from the market research group GfK showed that British households turned positive about their future personal financial situation for the first time since 2021.

However, the consumer confidence index held steady at -21 in March. The score was forecast to improve to -19.

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