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British retail sales rebound in February

British retail sales rebound in February

The latest average wage data showed United Kingdom consumers earning less - wage growth fell to 2.2% from a previous month's 2.6% - while consumer price inflation rose to 2.3% from 1.8%.

Retail sales in the three months to February recorded their biggest drop in nearly seven years as rising petrol prices cut into households' disposable income.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have revealed a 1.4 per cent uptick in retail sales over February.

The rise was driven in part by a recovery in big-ticket purchases, with sales at households goods stores picking up 3.7% month-on-month.

The total volume of furniture and lighting retail sales for February also improved up from -8% to -4.4%, but remained behind last year's figure of a positive 11.8%.

On a monthly basis, food sales rose 0.1% on the month while sales in non-food stores rose 1.8%.

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"Although there are some warning signs for the retail industry - with sales made on smartphones falling month-on-month, for example - these are trends we've seen echoed in previous years".

United Kingdom retail sales in February proved much stronger than the market was expecting, sending sterling surging higher on Thursday.

"The latest United Kingdom retail sales figures will provide some reassurance that higher inflation has not brought growth in consumer spending to a halt", said Paul Hollingswoth of Capital Economics.

Chris Williamson, chief business economist for IHS Markit commented: "The consumer, which has provided the main engine of United Kingdom economic growth in recent years, is showing signs of running out of steam".

"With consumers now seemingly moderating their spending, the long anticipated slowdown in the economy looks set to materialise unless other sectors can make significantly increased contributions".

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