Weather puts damper on high street

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British High Streets suffered a washout last month as monthly retail sales fell for the first time in nearly a year.

Like-for-like sales dropped by one per cent in February compared to the same period in 2013, as poor weather took its toll on town centre stores, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG. Web commerce continued to gather pace, with online non-food sales up 14.3 per cent.

But the impact of discount supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl helped drag down the overall figure.

The one per cent fall in overall retail sales come as a disappointment after a 3.9 per cent like-for-like increase in January. It is the first drop since last April.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: “Overall, these figures reflect the considerable challenges still faced by consumers and retailers in the UK. It remains to be seen how the industry will fare over 2014.”