Despite an uneventful Christmas period, the New Year saw sales in UK retail rise by 2.6%, surpassing the figure in January last year, the British Retail Consortium reports.
Sales were up by 3.3% compared to the 1.6% increase in January 2015, which is the best growth since September and pushing ahead of the 3-month average of 1.6% and 12-month average of 1.9%.
All product categories helped with the growth, except for food which saw a slight negative downfall, however the 3 and 12 month averages for food stayed unscathed.
The highest growth ranking came from furniture, a positive outcome for its most important month of the year. Though it was the performance in clothing and footwear that was the strongest driver of New Year Sales.
Non-food product sales online grew 14.9% in January compared to 2015.
Chief Executive at British Retail Consortium, Helen Dickinson OBE, commented on the findings saying “This was the best performance for retailers since September and ahead of the three and twelve month averages.”
“Retailers will welcome the positive start to what will be a momentous year for the industry. Next month the Treasury will report back on its long awaited review of the business rates system.
“This is the moment for the government to rebalance this tax away from property intensive industries in order to ensure that the introduction of the living wage does not have unintended consequences on our local communities and jobs.”
David MacCorquodale, UK Head of Retail for KPMG, added: “Heading into February, retailers will be turning attention to the next big promotional event in the calendar, Valentine’s Day and hoping to take a decent share of consumer spend as they’ll be facing stiff competition from both the experiential and leisure sectors.”
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