According to the report from Office for National Statistics, retail sales volumes only partly recovered in February 2021 with an increase of 2.1% when compared with the 8.2% fall seen in the previous month, and sales were still down by 3.7% on a year earlier before the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Non-food stores provided the largest positive contribution to the monthly growth in February 2021 sales volumes, aided by strong increases of 16.2% and 16.1% in department stores and household goods stores respectively.
Clothing retailers reported the largest fall, of 50.4%, in sales volumes when compared with February 2020 before the coronavirus pandemic; automotive fuel stores also reported a large annual decline of 26.5% as travel restrictions continued to hit sales in that sector.
In the three months to February 2021, retail sales volume fell by 6.3% when compared with the previous three months, with strong declines in both clothing stores and other non-food stores.
The proportion spent online increased to 36.1% in February 2021, the highest on record; this compares with 35.2% in January 2021 and 20.0% reported in February 2020.
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