Shoppers splash out after saving on cheap food, retail sales data showsComments Off on Shoppers splash out after saving on cheap food, retail sales data shows
Retail sales volumes jumped by a much stronger-than-expected 0.7% in February, while January’s sales were also revised higher, according to the Office for National Statistics.
On the High Street, the strongest performers over the month were department stores, where sales rose 1.7%, while household goods were up 1.2%. Online sales grew 1.9%.
Including plunging prices at petrol stations, prices were 3.6% lower in February than a year ago — the biggest annual fall since records began in 1997.
The spending surge comes as inflation over the month fell to an all-time low of zero. That has given shoppers a real-terms pay boost, as wages across the country rose at an annual 1.8% pace in the quarter to January.
Scotiabank analyst Alan Clarke said: “If you wanted a demonstration that low food and energy prices are good for consumer spending, then this is it. People are clearly not deferring their spending plans amid deflation speculation — they are spending the windfall.”