Retail sales return in January after the weak end of 2019

Shoppers outside a Debenhams storeCopyright of the image
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Retail sales improved in January, rising 0.9% from the previous month, official data show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that the amount of goods sold in Britain has increased by 0.9%, following the falls in the previous two months.

It was the largest monthly increase since March and a stronger than expected performance by economists.

Retail sales increased 1.6% as fuel spending fell, ONS said.

The January hike comes after a crazy Christmas holiday didn’t materialize in December. But Rhian Murphy, retail manager of the ONS, pointed out that in the three months to January, the quantity of goods purchased decreased by 0.8%. He said there were “declines in all sectors” during the quarter.

But Aled Patchett, head of retail and consumer goods at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said the economy appears to be “safer”.

He added: “While the” Boris rebound “appears to have increased consumer confidence and improved mood among retailers, many continue to predict cautiously, having experienced a difficult Christmas – something that has been reflected in the smaller of – discounts expected in January. “

Compared to a year ago, Internet sales also rose 4.9% in January.

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Fuel recorded a sharp drop of 5.7% of the amount purchased in January compared to December 2019, coinciding with a 2.3 p increase in prices. Clothing stores follow with a 3.9% drop.

Andrew Carlisle, chief executive officer of Accenture, said that the struggles in the retail sector “have yet to show signs of easing,” adding: “While there has been modest sales growth in January, it is not enough that retailers get excited. “

‘Hard trading’

Previous research by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has suggested that 2019 may have been the worst year in 25 years for retailers. He claimed that total sales fell 0.1%, marking the first annual drop in sales since 1995.

However, the figures of the commercial body do not include the entire retail market. His survey rules out some fast-growing online retailers, including Amazon, for example.

The UK’s high streets continue to face tough trading conditions, with big chains such as Mothercare and Thomas Cook having been in ruins in recent months.

The decline of High Street has been attributed to a number of causes. High job rates, national wage increases, Brexit and poor consumer confidence are some challenges for retailers, as well as the increase in online retailing.

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