Friday, December 8

UK retail sales unexpectedly fall as online spending drops

Article content

LONDON — British retail sales unexpectedly fell in February as online shopping sank back to its pre-pandemic levels and stormy weather deterred some shoppers from venturing out, official data showed on Friday.

Sales volumes were down by 0.3% from January, the Office for National Statistics said.

Economists polled by Reuters had on average forecast a 0.6% monthly rise in retail sales.

The ONS said sales volumes were 3.7% above their pre-coronavirus levels of February 2020 but the share of online sales in value terms was its lowest since March 2020 at 27.8%.

Compared with a year earlier, overall sales volumes were up by 7.0%, short of the 7.8% growth expected in the Reuters poll. (Reporting by William Schomberg; Editing by Kate Holton)