Retail sales continued to disappoint during February, with most major sectors posting year-on-year falls. Retailers said the sales slump continued to worsen as prospects for a cut in interest rates faded and the stock market stabilised. The February year-on-year figures were distorted by the impact of the Lunar New Year, which took place in mid-February this year. A more accurate reflection of the underlying demand would be gained by taking the January-February period. On this basis, retail volumes fell by 1 per cent compared with the same period last year. Car sales volume plunged more than 47 per cent, consumer durables were down 14 per cent and department store sales fell 2 per cent. Sales of clothing and footwear increased more than 6 per cent, well down from a 9 per cent rise in December. Retail Management Association chairman Rodney Miles said the extra day in February - 1996 is a leap year - failed to boost the outcome. 'February's figures were worse than expected, March was bad and April has been a disaster,' Mr Miles said. 'Most retailers are now worried about the second half of the year.'