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High street sales bounce back after sterling falls

RETAIL sales in London rebounded in February with a like-for-like surge of
almost ten per cent fuelled by a drop in the value of sterling.

The rise came after a dismal start to the year as freezing conditions kept shoppers at home.

Across the UK sales were only up an average of 2.2 per cent in February – making the capital the highest climber, according to the figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

A drop in the value of the pound made London shops attractive for foreign visitors with a significant increase in the number of Chinese shoppers hitting the stores. Visitors from the Middle East and Western Europe also increased.

Homeware sales picked up and clothing and footwear was boosted by new purchases to cope with the cold, wet weather.

Extended discount schemes also drew in bargain hunters. However, food sales dipped as many households had stocked up in January when faced with freezing conditions and snow.

Stephen Roberston, director general of the BRC, said: “This is a strongbounce back for sales after winter weather put many people off shopping in January which these figures confirm was a blip.”