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UK retail sales rebound in February

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British retail sales rebounded in February from the previous month, boosted by growth in food and online purchases, official data showed on Thursday.

[LONDON] British retail sales rebounded in February from the previous month, boosted by growth in food and online purchases, official data showed on Thursday.

Sales grew by 0.8 per cent last month following a drop of 0.2 per cent in January, the Office for National Statistics said in a statement.

"The monthly increase to the quantity bought follows two monthly declines in December and January, resulting in an overall decrease of 0.4 per cent in the three months to February," it said.

"Internet sales saw an increase in its proportion of all seasonally adjusted retailing in February when compared with January, accounting for 17.2 per cent of all retail," it added.

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Market voices on:

With shoppers increasingly moving online, some retailers are being forced to axe stores and even close for business, having failed to react quickly enough to the fast-evolving e-commerce landscape.

UK fashion chain New Look on Wednesday revealed it had agreed a restructuring plan with creditors, resulting in 60 store closures and the loss of up to 980 jobs.

Meanwhile the British arm of troubled retailer Toys 'R' Us is winding down its activities, with the loss of more than 3,000 positions. It comes as the parent group shuts all its US stores.

But companies that have adapted well to the rise of e-commerce are enjoying strong earnings. British fashion brand Ted Baker on Thursday announced an 11-per cent rise in total group sales.

"The online operation is growing strongly, while the steady roll-out of stores in new locations across the world is sensible, and adds further geographic diversification," noted George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.

AFP

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