UK retail sales drop unexpectedly as online spending falls By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Shoppers walk down Oxford Street, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in London, Britain December 13, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

LONDON (Reuters) – British retail sales fell unexpectedly in February as online shopping returned to pre-pandemic levels and stormy weather deterred some shoppers from venturing out, it was revealed on Friday official data.

Sales volume fell 0.3% from January, the Office for National Statistics said.

Economists polled by Reuters on average forecast a 0.6% monthly rise in retail sales.

The ONS said sales volumes were 3.7% higher than their pre-coronavirus levels of February 2020, but the share of online sales by value was the lowest since March 2020 at 27.8 %.

Compared to the previous year, the overall sales volume increased by 7.0%, below the 7.8% growth expected in the Reuters survey.

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