Retail sales in the UK declined by 0.2% last month after falling by 0.6% in August, according to data from the country’s Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Sales volumes were 4.2% higher than last February, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Retail sales values, unadjusted for price changes, decreased by 0.2% last month, compared to a 0.1% decline in August.

In a statement, the ONS said: “Retail sales volumes have fallen each month since April, when non-essential retailing re-opened and retail sales reached levels substantially above those before the pandemic.

“This is the longest period of consecutive monthly falls in the history of this series, which began in February 1996.

“However, sales remain 4.2% above the level seen before the pandemic in February 2020.

“The monthly increase in online spending values resulted in a slight increase in the proportion of online sales, which increased to 28.1% in September, from 27.9% in August.”

Driven by a fall in household goods store sales, including furniture, lighting and other non-food stores, the sales volume for non-food stores fell by 1.4% last month.

Sales volumes for food stores grew by 0.6% during the month, up by 3.9% against pre-pandemic levels last February.

Automotive fuel sales grew by 2.9% as demand gathered momentum later in the month, representing a 1.8% increase from last February.

Online sales have also continued to rise, despite a significant relaxation in Covid-19 restrictions, increasing by 28.1% last month from 27.9% in August.

With an increase in department store sales values, online spending values also rose by 0.5% during the month compared with August.

Last month, the ONS released data showing that retail sales in the UK declined by 0.9% from July to August.

Sales volumes were 4.6% higher than last February and had increased by 0.3% in the three months to August.

Retail sales values, unadjusted for price changes, decreased by 0.3% compared to a 2.4% decline in July.