Overall, retail sales were 0.4% higher in February 2009 than February 2008, says the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the lowest increase since September 2005. Within that total, food store sales decreased 0.6% and non-specialised stores by 5.2%. Non-store retailing and repair — which includes some aspects of internet sales — was 8.9% higher than in February 2008, however.
All sectors showed falls between January and February 2009, with the total sales volume decreasing by 1.9%. The largest decrease was for 'other stores' at 4.8%, the largest fall since ONS records began in 1986. Textile, clothing and footwear stores fell by 3.7%.
For the three months from December to February, retail sales were 2% higher than the previous three months. But, says the ONS, "these increases are due to the strength in the volume of retail sales in December and January."
At an average of £167m per week, internet sales in February represented 3.4% of total retail sales. This is slightly down on each of the previous three months when January's online sales were worth 3.7% of the total, December's were 3.5% and November's were 3.8% — but up on October 2008 at 3.2% and September 2008 at 3.1%.