Retail sales in Britain fell more than expected in February, as rising prices dampened consumer spending in the country.

The volume of retail sales fell 0.8 percent in February compared with 1.5 percent increase in the previous month, Office for National Statistics said on Thursday.

The decline in February’s sales was largely led by a drop in sales at both food and non-food stores. Sales at food stores fell 0.4 percent, while non-food stores saw a drop of 1.6 percent in sales.

The annual consumer price index (CPI) in the UK rose to 4.4 percent in February compared with 4 percent in the previous month.

UK inflation rate in February remained above the Bank of England's (BoE) target of 2 percent for a fifteen consecutive month. The rise in inflation increases pressure on BoE to raise the interest rates to tame the accelerating inflation.

The UK government increased value added tax (VAT) from 17.5 percent to 20 percent effective from January 2011.