A plethora of storms throughout February has taken its toll on British retail.
On a total basis, sales increased by 0.1% in February, against an increase of 3.2% in February 2019.
This is above the 12-month average decline of 0.2%.
According to the British Retail Consortium, UK retail sales decreased 0.4% on a Like-for-like basis from February 2019, when they had increased 2.6% from the preceding year.
The BRC’s chief executive, Helen Dickinson OBE, commented: “Clouds continued to hang over the retail industry in February, as storm Ciara, Dennis and Jorge took their toll on retail sales, particularly in fashion.
“Despite many indicators suggesting a rise in confidence among UK shoppers in recent months, this has failed to translate into higher retail sales. However, the end of the month saw a slight rise in spending on food and healthcare as a result of concerns around coronavirus. “
She continued: “Retailers are working hard to reduce their environmental impact, keep supply chains working smoothly and investing in new technologies. However, they are hindered by government policies, such as sky high business rates, which limit investment.
“In tomorrow’s Budget we hope the Government will take the opportunity to relieve the business rates burden bearing down on the shoulders of the industry.
Adding: “Scrapping downwards phasing of transitional relief, which has forced retailers to subsidise other industries by almost £550m over the last three years, would allow more money to be invested back into people, property and technology all over the UK.”