The rise follows poor sales in January and was boosted by an increase in non-food sales.
Non-food stores saw an 8.1% increase on the previous year while food stores were up only 0.9%.
Total retail sales are up 4.9% compared with February 2009.
Clothing and footwear store sales rose 6.5% while household goods store sales increased by 5.4%
Non-store retail sales, which includes phone, online and catalogue sales, were 21.2% higher than a year ago.
Richard Lowe, head of retail and wholesale, Barclays Corporate, says: “February’s figures confirm that things are back on-track for the retail sector following the larger than expected declines of January. Although overall the market remains flat, it has moved in the right direction.
Earlier this month the British Retail Consortium said that sales bounced back in February with like-for-like sales up 2.2% compared a 0.7% drop in January when severe weather and snow kept consumers out of shops.