February is traditionally a quiet month for retailers however the ONS figures show that retailers have defied the odds. Indeed, recent data showed that household optimism actually increased last month compared to January, as consumers continued to spend. Although sales were up overall, our data found that activity in the furniture industry significantly decreased last month, a trend which was seen across the high street, as many incumbent retailers issued profit warnings – Countrywide, Carpetright and DFS to name a few.

The prospect of real wages rising increased consumer confidence last month, with our data particularly showing a spike in the sale of motor servicing and accessories in February. Recent reports show that many motorists are switching from new to used cars so this uptick in motor servicing and accessories comes at a time where consumers are stretching their income to accommodate prolonged inflation, rather than splashing out on new vehicles. In this situation, retailers who offer finance with fixed repayments can thrive by offering consumers the option to spread the cost on big ticket items