U.K. retail sales rose more than economists expected in February, boosted by a jump in spending in food. Sales of other goods fell.
The volume of goods sold in stores and online climbed 0.8 percent from January, double the increase forecast by economists, figures from the Office for National Statistics Thursday show. The increase followed declines in the previous two months.
The sector may struggle to avoid losing sales over the first quarter after snow and freezing temperatures gripped the U.K. this month. Sales will fall unless March sees an increase of 0.6 percent.
In the three months through February, sales fell by 0.4 percent, the first decline in almost a year.
Inflation is easing and the Bank of England is expected to keep interest rates unchanged today, though markets are increasingly betting on a rate increase in May to head off of home-grown price pressure emerging in the labor market.
Sales excluding auto fuel increased by 0.6 percent in February.
Food sales rose by 1.1 percent in February. Sales were also boosted by household goods and goods sold online. But non-food sales overall fell by 0.8 percent, with department stores and clothing shops both experiencing declines.
Source : Bloomberg