Clothing sector leads as UK retail sales remain steady in Feb 2024



The UK’s retail landscape in February 2024 saw a steady performance overall, with retail sales volumes showing no change from the previous month, after a notable rise of 3.6 per cent in January 2024, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Despite the overall market’s flat performance, the clothing sector recorded a monthly rise of 1.7 per cent, leading the growth within the non-food stores category.

In the non-food stores segment, there was a modest uptick of 0.7 per cent in sales volumes over the month to February 2024. Retailers have credited this upturn to the launch of new collections and effective promotional activities that attracted consumers.

UK retail sales in February 2024 remained unchanged, with the clothing sector leading growth in non-food stores with a 1.7 per cent increase, according to the ONS.
Despite a modest uptick of 0.7 per cent in non-food stores, household goods saw a 1 per cent decline.
Online sales surged by 2.1 per cent, with clothing online sales up 7.3 per cent.

While clothing stores enjoyed growth, department stores and other non-food retail sectors also saw positive movements, with increases of 1.6 per cent and 0.4 per cent, respectively. However, the picture was not uniformly rosy, as household goods stores experienced a decline of 1.0 per cent, with the economic climate and inclement weather playing contributory roles, as per ONS.

The wider retail market observed a 0.4 per cent decrease in sales volumes over the three months leading to February 2024 when compared with the preceding quarter. Furthermore, there was a year-on-year reduction of 1 per cent compared with the same period in 2023. Despite the volumes remaining unchanged in February, a minor reduction in sales values by 0.1 per cent indicated a slight decrease in consumer spending.

Recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continues at a gradual pace, with sales volumes still 1.3 per cent below the levels seen in February 2020, before the pandemic began.

There was a significant rise in online spending values by 2.1 per cent over the month to February 2024, marking the most considerable increase since July 2023. This surge towards online shopping, driven by poor weather and enhanced promotional efforts, was particularly strong in the clothing sector, which reported a robust 7.3 per cent increase in online sales. This shift is part of a broader trend towards digital commerce, with the proportion of sales made online climbing from 25.1 per cent in January to 25.7 per cent in February 2024.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DP)


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