The food sector experienced a 9.3% rise in online sales during February, compared to the same month last year, the latest statistics have revealed.

The Office for National Statistics, which published its latest UK retail sales figures for the month yesterday (21 March), highlighted average weekly sales during February amounted to £2.7bn - the highest value of any retailing sector - with 3.6% of these made on the internet.

A 3.2% rise year-on-year (YOY) in the price of goods sold in the food sector put pressure on sale volumes, which fell 1.2% during the same period. However, the sector saw a 0.7% increase in spend in comparison to February 2012.

Overall UK retail sales figures improved by 2.1% last month, in comparison to January, and both sales values and volumes saw a 2.6% growth YOY. Weekly spend across all retailing was £6.3bn in February, higher than the £6.1bn reported in the previous month.

Helen Dickinson, director general at the British Retail Consortium, said: “There are some reassuring signs here that people are starting to feel a little more positive, but it’s too early to gauge whether this is a temporary upturn or if we’re on the cusp of more secure and lasting revival.

“Yesterday’s Budget brought some good news for consumers, which should help to lift the mood further and build on this boost to spending power, but it was disappointing that direct help for high streets barely had a look-in. This gradual growth certainly cannot be taken for granted, as the mixed picture of the last few months confirms that the path to recovery remains a fragile one.”

The ONS’ retail sales figures are based on estimates produced from a monthly survey of 5,000 retailers in Britain.