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ONS Retail Sales February 2021

Retail sales (value, non-seasonally adjusted, excluding fuel) dipped by 1.3% year-on-year in February according to the latest ONS data, with strong home-related sales unable to offset declines across apparel.

In volume terms, retail sales declined by 1.1% in February on the previous year (seasonally adjusted, excluding fuel). But on a month-on-month basis, volumes edged up by 1.0% supported by spending on homes.

Retail sales (volume, seasonally adjusted) – 3-months on previous 3-months

Source: ONS

Household goods outperformed with consumers focusing on DIY and garden furniture as the prospect of outdoor socialising draws closer. However, clothing and footwear tumbled with the ONS noting that sales volumes were at half their pre-pandemic level.

Online shopping and click and collect delivery continued to soften the overall impact of mandated non-essential store closures.

Online sales (non-seasonally adjusted, excluding automotive fuel) rocketed by 78.6% year-on-year in February, against a 6.5% uplift a year earlier. This saw online account for 34.5% of retail sales – below the record 36.3% in January.

The retail sales deflator (a measure of inflation specific to retail) excluding fuel dipped by 0.4% compared to last year (and declined 0.6% when including fuel).

The implied price deflator among food and non-food stores edged down by 0.2% and 0.3% year-on-year respectively.

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