The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has responded to the BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor for February with a degree of optimism.

The report, which can be downloaded here, highlights strong retail sales: UK retail sales rose 2.7% on a like-for-like basis from February 2021, when they had increased 9.5%. On a total basis, sales lifted by 6.7% in February, against an increase of 1.0% in February 2021. Meanwhile, online non-food sales decreased by 28.4% during February, compared with growth of 82.2% in February 2021.

“The UK economy bounced back in January, and better than expected. We have also seen retail sales growth in January and February with the return of people in shops and a reduction in online shopping”

Bira CEO Andrew Goodacre

Bira CEO Andrew Goodacre said: “The UK economy bounced back in January, and better than expected. We have also seen retail sales growth in January and February with the return of people in shops and a reduction in online shopping. 
“These figures would normally allow us to look forward with a degree of optimism. However, there is so much uncertainty at the moment with rising inflation, rising business costs and the war in Ukraine, that any optimism is shadowed by real concerns for the rest of 2022.
“There will be real pressure on consumer spending, and we know that the costs of running retail businesses are rising at a faster rate than sales. Later this month the Chancellor will be making his Spring statement, and we are asking him to cancel the proposed increase in business rates and retain the amounts paid by business in 2021.”

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