The pound gained ground against its major rivals in the European session on Friday, as the nation's retail sales recovered in February largely driven by non-food store sales and on improved risk sentiment amid progress on vaccination rollouts and upbeat economic data.

Data from the Office for National Statistics showed that retail sales volume including auto fuel logged a monthly growth of 2.1 percent, in contrast to January's 8.2 percent decrease. The pace of growth matched economists' expectations.

Excluding auto fuel, retail sales gained 2.4 percent on month, in contrast to the 8.7 percent decrease seen in January and faster than the forecast of +1.9 percent.

Non-food stores provided the largest positive contribution to the monthly growth in February.

On a yearly basis, retail sales fell at a slower pace of 3.7 percent after decreasing 5.9 percent in January. This was the second consecutive drop in sales and was better than the expected drop of -3.5 percent.

Excluding auto fuel, retail sales were down 1.1 percent annually, following a 3.7 percent drop seen in the prior month. Economists had forecast an annual fall of 1.5 percent.

The U.S. recovery appeared to be on track after latest data showed a bigger-than-forecast drop in weekly jobless claims and GDP revising slightly upward to an annualized rate of 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter.

In his first formal news conference, U.S. President Joe Biden promised to deliver 200 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine within his first 100 days in office.

The pound hit 1.2969 against the franc, its strongest level since March 15. If the pound rises further, 1.31 is likely seen as its next resistance level. The pound appreciated to a 3-day high of 1.3791 against the greenback, from yesterday's close of 1.3731. The pound is likely to challenge resistance around the 1.40 level.

The pound spiked higher to a 1-week high of 151.00 against the yen, compared to Thursday's closing value of 149.91. On the upside, 153.00 is possibly seen as its next resistance level.

Data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications showed that Tokyo's consumer prices declined at a slower pace in March.

The core consumer price index, excluding food, dropped 0.1 percent year-on-year in March. The annual rate was forecast to fall 0.2 percent after easing 0.3 percent in February. Core prices have been falling since August 2020.

The pound jumped to 0.8548 against the euro, recording a 1-week high. The pair had ended Thursday's deals at 0.8563. The next likely resistance for the pound is seen around the 0.84 level.

Looking ahead, U.S. personal income and spending data for February and University of Michigan's final consumer sentiment index for March will be featured in the New York session.