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Retail sales volumes fall 0.3% in February, ONS says

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Retail sales volumes fell by 0.3% in February 2022 following a rise of 1.9% in January 2022, according to the latest figures from ONS, with sales volumes at 3.7% above their pre-coronavirus (Covid-19) February 2020 levels.

Non-store retailing sales volumes fell by 4.8% over the month following strong growth in December (2.7%) and January (4.0%); sales volumes were 33.2% above their pre-coronavirus February 2020 levels.

Food store sales volumes fell by 0.2% in February 2022 with large falls in alcohol and tobacco stores, which may be linked to higher spending in pubs and restaurants as confidence increased in going out; food store sales volumes were 0.1% below pre-coronavirus February 2020 levels.

Non-food stores sales volumes rose by 0.6% in February 2022 with growth in clothing (13.2%) and department stores (1.3%), with wider socialising and the return to the office following the lifting of Plan B restrictions at the end of January potential factors; these increases were partly offset by falls in other non-food stores (negative 7.0%) and household goods stores (negative 2.5%) with some retailers suggesting the stormy weather during the month had impacted footfall.

Automotive fuel sales volumes rose by 3.6% in February 2022 as the lifting of Plan B restrictions in England at the end of January 2022 increased travel; sales volumes were above pre-coronavirus February 2022 levels (0.9%) for the first time.

The proportion of retail sales online fell to 27.8% in February 2022, its lowest proportion since March 2020 (22.7%), continuing a broad downward trend since its peak in February 2021 (37.7%).

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