UK Retail Industry Off To A Good Start In 2013

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Retail sales in the UK achieved their biggest growth on a total basis since September 2012, going up by 3% in January compared with the same period a year earlier.

The latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) show that on a like-for-like basis, the retail industry recorded a 1.9% increase in last month’s sales against January 2012, scoring its best result over the past 13 months. By comparison, retail sales suffered a 0.3% like-for-like decline on the previous year.

The growth was a result of consumers’ rush to snatch products sold at big discounts, but Britons also bought full-price items such as technology gadgets, BRC’s director general Helen Dickinson commented. Together with the recuperating consumer confidence, these factors contributed to a successful first month of the year. The cold weather that had gripped the country did not have a severe impact on the emerging confidence amongst consumers and its impact was only felt in certain segments.

The growth is probably a welcome relief for domestic retailers as most of them spent a lackluster December. As a whole, the industry did not stake great hopes on their January performance, even when taking the busier Christmas holiday season into account, which made them prepared better for the new year, piling up less stock than a year earlier.

We can all agree that January was a good start to what is expected to be a challenging year for the industry, David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, added.