The three-month average growth in retail sales to the end of February was 2.8 per cent, according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).\r\n\r\nThese figures mean the three-month period was in line with the 12-month trend, which now sits at 2.7 per cent growth.\r\n\r\nHowever, on a single month basis, February retail sales were down 1 per cent on a like-for-like comparison with February 2013, when they had increased 2.7 per cent on the preceding year.\r\n\r\n\u2018Home Accessories\u2019 was the top performing category, followed by \u2018Furniture and Flooring\u2019 which was the greatest contributor to overall growth.\r\n\r\nOnline sales of non-food products in the UK grew 14.3 per cent in February versus a year earlier. The online penetration rate achieved 17.5 per cent in February.\r\n\r\nHelen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, said: "Our sales figures for February show a slower pace of growth in the retail industry than in previous months, underlining that the consumer-led recovery is still developing.\r\n\r\n"However, this slower growth might have been expected in some ways, given the record sales figures we saw in January and the strong results that we are comparing against from last year. If they were taken together, the figures from the last three months show a 2.8 per cent average growth in the retail industry, a modest increase on the 12 month average.\r\n\r\n"Once again, furniture and home accessories were the best performing categories. This further illustrates the impact of the continued recovery in the housing market on the wider economy. On the other hand, \u2018Food\u2019 sales continued to stay relatively flat.\r\n\r\n"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."\r\n\r\nDavid McCorquodale, head of retail, KPMG, which co-authors the BRC\u2019s report, said: "February saw a hiatus on the high street, with online sales soaring while in store sales stalled. There's no doubt inclement weather exacerbated this trend, but it certainly underscores the importance of having a sophisticated online operation.\r\n\r\n"The grocery sector remains fiercely competitive. February's figures were impacted by the discounting campaigns launched by the value grocers, which caused a sharp slowdown of overall price inflation in the food sector.\r\n\r\n"There were some bright spots amidst the gloom. The effects of a rapidly recovering housing market are already feeding through to the retail sector, with sales of furniture and home accessories remaining solid.\r\n\r\n"However overall sales were pretty flat, which serves as a reminder that recovery is far from certain. Retailers need the government to deliver measures in the forthcoming Budget which will give shoppers more pounds in their pocket, but more importantly imbue them with the confidence to spend them."