The retail figures for January are in and paint a mixed picture, with the good news of an overall like-for-like increase of 1.1 per cent in sales muddied by news that non-food sales slipped 1.6 per cent.
Retail Week reports that BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor numbers showed a total sales increase of 3.2 per cent, though this was lead by a 5.1 per cent like-for-like jump in food sales.
However, online saw tremendous gains on the month before, with non-food internet sales shooting up by 19.2 per cent, though this was down on the 30 per cent increase seen in December.
The increases were driven by the ongoing widespread discounting on the High Street, the BRC claimed, thought it added that much of the activity occurred at the beginning of the month with sales dropping off towards the end
These surprisingly good figures give some room for optimism,” BRC director general Stephen Robertson stated. Overall sales growth turned positive and is higher than it's been since last May.
Food sales growth rose. Non-food sales fell more slowly, suggesting January clearance deals released pent-up demand and customers started to spend on goods they've been intending to buy for months.
But the fundamentals haven't changed. Job fears are mounting. Consumer confidence is at record lows. It remains to be seen whether January's discount driven growth was just a blip.”