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UK like-for-like sales rise by 2.6% in January driven by big ticket items

Tuesday February 9th 2016

UK like-for-like retail sales rose by 2.6% year-on-year in January with the increase driven by a strong performance in big ticket items such as furniture. On a total basis, sales were up 3.3%.

The figures from the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor show this was best growth since September, firmly ahead of the three-month average of 1.6% and the 12-month average of 1.9%.

All product categories contributed to the increase with the exception of food which turned slightly negative.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “January’s performance was driven by big-ticket items, in particular furniture, which is encouraging in the largest month of the year for the category. However, the performance in clothing and footwear was driven by the New Year sales. After seeing a slight recovery in December, food sales were once again slightly down in January, while the mildly positive longer term trends were unchanged.”

Online sales of non-food products grew by 14.9% in January versus a year earlier. The non-food online penetration rate was 21.5%, up 1.4 percentage points from January 2015.

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: “Retailers encouraged shoppers to beat the back-to-work blues with a variety of seasonal e-promotions. Fashion sales were particularly popular as consumers took full advantage of clearance sales and the colder weather encouraged purchases of heavier knits and woollens.

“As use of online channels continues to increase, retailers continue to invest in their logistics, fulfilment and returns networks to improve the customer experience.”