Worst sales for High Street

Chancellor Philip Hammond holding his red ministerial box outside 11 Downing Street, London, before heading to the House of Commons to deliver his Budget

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The new year bounce-back on the high street came to an abrupt end last month as retailers saw their worst sales performance for nearly a year, figures have shown.

Like-for-like retail sales fell to a 10-month low of 0.4 per cent in February in a marked reversal of the 2.3 per cent bounce-back seen in January after the pre-Christmas snow chaos, according to the British Retail Consortium.

The grim February result is the latest gloomy news for Britain’s retail sector.

‘Retail bellwether John Lewis has also suffered subdued sales since January in a sign of the pressures faced by shoppers.

Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, said: ‘After the big boost to January’s figures from one-off factors, including a strong final burst of pre-VAT rise spending, February’s figures are a return to a more realistic picture of how things are for customers and retailers.’