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Published on February 7th, 2017 | by The GC Team

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January sales growth disappoints

Figures released by the BRC today confirmed that January is no longer the peak shopping period it once was, as UK retail sales ground to a halt during the month with like-for-likes declining 0.6% on January 2016, which itself recorded a 2.6% increase on the preceding year.

On a total basis, sales rose 0.1% against a 3.3% increase in January 2016 and remained well below the 3-month average of 1.1% and 12-month average of 0.9%.

“While this may appear disappointing overall, retailers were up against a strong January last year to try and deliver a repeat performance, and many reported an increase in the number of returns received in January,” said Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium.

“Looking across the last three months, we’ve seen the slowest growth of the festive period since 2009. Closer inspection reveals that this was driven by slowing sales in non-food sectors.”

Over the three months to January, non-food sales rose 0.2% on a like-for-like basis and 0.3% on a total basis. This is below the 12-month total average growth of 0.8%, which is the lowest since July 2012.

  • On a 3-month basis, the online penetration rate was 24.9%, representing £1 in every £4 of non-food revenue spent online

While online sales over the 3-month period grew 8.6%, in-store sales declined 2.2% on a total basis and 2.4% on a like-for-like basis.

“These figures suggest that caution was top of new year shopping lists and the uptick in credit card lending at the end of the last year may be short lived,” said Dickinson.

“With the signs pointing to upward pressures on shop prices, given rising import costs, all eyes will be on the impact of inflation on consumer spending. That said, retailers are a resilient and innovative bunch. They have become increasingly adept at responding to the challenging environment, and as a result the industry has been a key driver of recent UK productivity growth.”

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