According to a report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), UK retail sales were up 3.9% on a like-for-like basis from January 2013, when they had increased 1.9% on the preceding year. On a total basis, sales were up 5.4%, against a 3.0% increase in January 2013, the strongest growth since March 2010.
Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: ““Customers responded enthusiastically to a range of sales and promotions on non-food items this January. Retailers succeeded in tempting shoppers in with promotions, they also saw strong demand across new ranges, helped by improvements in consumer confidence. January’s figures set 2014 off to a good start; however comparisons are against soft non-food sales in January 2013, which will not be the case in February. Given the underlying conditions, it remains to be seen how the trend for the rest of the year will pan out.”
David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: “These figures mark a strong start to the year for retailers. Most will take much from the positives and see genuine light at the end of the tunnel. However, behind the scenes some have had to discount heavily to secure these sales and will now be counting the cost of this strategy. Others have genuinely beaten expectations. Other than the grocers, retailers will feel heartened by these post-Christmas figures.”