Retail sales rebound sputters in Britain

March 24, 2011 at 11:49 AM
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LONDON, March 24 (UPI) -- Retail sales in Britain dropped 0.8 percent in February compared to January, the Office of National Statistics said Thursday.

The retail sector in Britain is rebounding from December, which was the worst retail month on record with shoppers spending $62.6 billion in a month battered by winter storms.

Sales rose a month ago, but from January to February, non-food store receipts fell 1.6 percent, while sales at food stores dropped 0.4 percent.

Online sales month-to-month rose 0.5 percent, while gasoline sales rose 0.6 percent. Otherwise, "There were decreases across all predominately non-food sectors," ONS said.

From a year ago, February sales were up 1.3 percent, although food stores have seen a decrease of 2.2 percent over the past 12 months.

For non-food stores, sales over the past year have risen 2 percent with a 17.3 percent increase in online and catalog sales and a 3.2 percent rise in fuel for motorists.

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