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Clothing & footwear retail sales flat in Feb

Mar '07
BRC reports that UK retail sales were up 3.3%% on a like-for-like basis, compared with February 2006, when sales had risen only 0.6%.

The three-month trend rate of growth rose to 3.0% from 2.1% in January, for like-for-like sales, and to 5.0% from 4.1% for total sales, reflecting the growth of retail space.

Clothing and footwear were largely flat, furniture remained down on a year ago and house textiles, toiletries and cosmetics slowed. Home accessories remained good, though were often discount-driven. Consumer confidence weakened again in February, as plans for major purchases fell back.

Kevin Hawkins, Director General, BRC comments:
“ A reasonably good set of results, very much in line with January's out-turn, although similarly set against flat sales last year. Clothing and big-ticket categories in general, however, remain sluggish and growth remains heavily slanted towards the grocery sector. It would appear that the November and January rate increases have yet to work through to consumer spending.”

Helen Dickinson, Head of Retail, KPMG comments:
“February's results reflect a continuation of the trend of late December and January – not a bad set of results on the face of it but the total growth of 5.6% and like-for-like growth of 3.3% must be taken in the context of a weak set of figures from February 2006.

“Whilst home accessories also had a good month. Clothing and footwear retailers continue to find generating like-for-like growth much more challenging given the large increases in floor space they have taken on in the last twelve months.”

British Retail Consortium, UK

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