The latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor shows that UK retail sales increased by 0.2% on a like-for-like basis from February 2014, when they had decreased 1.0% on the preceding year.
On a total basis, sales were up 1.7%, against a 0.7% rise in February 2014.
Adjusted for the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index deflation, total growth was 3.4%, above the 12-month average of 3.2%.
Total Food sales grew for the third consecutive month in February and showed an annual rise of 0.5% in the three months to February, its best performance since January 2014. Growth was broad-based with holiday related products and gift items topping the charts.
Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 8.3% in February versus a year earlier, when it had grown 14.3%. The Non-Food online penetration rate was 17.5%, up from 16.6% in February 2014.
Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: "After the bustle of Christmas and the excitement of the January sales, February is usually a quiet month for retailers. So it's heartening to see that retail sales continued to rise this month by close to 2 per cent.
"What's interesting is that almost all categories of product saw increased sales – so the good news is shared out pretty evenly across the industry as a whole. There was some specific excitement around swimwear, sandals and other ‘holiday' items as consumers turned their mind to their getaways. Valentine's Day also drove good sales of beauty products, jewellery and food related gifts.
"Fundamentally though, sales are up while prices fall which means that retailers are continuing to work hard to provide original products that excite customers at the right price. So far, 2015 has been positive for both retailers and consumers and it shows no signs yet of changing course.”