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Retail year-on-year sales growth grinds to a halt in January

UK like-for-like retail sales edged down 0.6% year-on-year in January with the decline driven by slowing non-food sales.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Retail year-on-year sales growth grinds to a halt in January

The figures from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG’s monthly sales monitor show that total sales rose by 0.1%.

Over the three-months to January, food sales increased by 0.6% on a like-for-like basis and by 2% on a total basis.

During the same period, non-food retail sales rose by 0.2% on a like-for-like basis and by 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.

Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive, said: “After a strong end to the Christmas trading, year-on-year sales growth ground to a halt, compensated only by stronger furniture sales and a boost for some retailers from Chinese New Year. 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.

“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, online sales grew 8.6% while in-store sales declined by 2.2% on a total basis and 2.4% on a like-for-like basis. Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew by 8% in January versus a year earlier.

Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, said: “Unlike the chilly high street, online retail sales continued to grow in January, with non-food online sales up 8% compared to last year. The month’s cold snap is likely to have encouraged high street hibernation, with shoppers preferring to browse from the comfort of their own homes.

“Indeed, consumer focus really did turn indoors during the month, with sales of furniture and other household items performing particularly well. Footwear sales on the other hand continued to struggle and infrequently made it to e-checkouts.”

 

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