Traditionally the toughest month of the retail calendar, online sales offered some brightest in February, according to the latest figures from the BDO High Street Sales Tracker.
Overall like for like sales were down 1.5 per cent on last year, although online year on year sales were up 27.9 per cent for February as freezing temperatures in the first half of the month saw consumers shop from the comfort of their own homes.
Non fashion was the only other category to benefit from positive growth - with like for likes up two per cent.
However, fashion was down 2.5 per cent year on year and experienced its worst month since October 2011.
"During strong trading periods like Christmas and slow ones like February, trends are magnified and trading performance becomes polarised between those who hold their own and those who find the going tough," said Don Williams, national head of retail and wholesale at BDO LLP. "Online is the engine room of growth for the sector and is still a way off reaching maturity - so those retailers with a strong multi-channel offer, that they continue to invest in and develop, are stealing a march on their competitors."