Like-for-like sales were up 2.2% compared a 0.7% drop in January when severe weather and snow kept consumers out of shops.
The BRC director general Stephen Robertson warns that “despite appearances the results are not that strong” as they compare to very weak February sales in the previous year and were boosted by poor January performance this year.
He adds that when weather-related distortions are removed it is clear that consumers remain cautious about spending.
Food sales slowed further as customers stocked up in January and lower food inflation hit.
Non-food sales recovered as clothing and footwear and homewares and furniture showed gains.
Non-store sales, which include online, phone and mail-order sales, were 15.5% up on February last year boosted by the poor weather which kept consumers indoors.