|UK retail sales see January uplift|
|Written by Carol Emmas|
|Thursday, 07 February 2013 11:58|
UK retail sales increased 1.9% in January on the previous year, despite the snow, and is the largest year-on-year rise since 2011, according to the British Retail Consortium.
Online sales were up 10.1% over January 2012, when they had risen by 11.3%.
Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, said the results were sure to lift spirits for many as consumers were tempted out by offers and promotions but also treated themselves to full-price and premium products in early January.
"Retailers didn't have high hopes for strong sales at Christmas, but this meant that they prepared well and headed into the new year with less stock to clear than last year," she said.
She added: "All in all, these figures give a sense that the mood is lifting a little for customers and retailers. Let's hope it continues."
David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said January's sales figures achieved the highest increase seen since December 2011 in what is anticipated to be a tough year for the sector. He said it is encouraging to see such positive results in what is traditionally a challenging month.
"Many retailers will be pleased with their sales campaigns as 2013 roared into life producing double-digit sales increases in several categories in the first week. Sadly a blanket of snow mid-month slowed the charge as payday approached.
McCorquodale said that despite the demise of several well-known high street stores, many retailers will look back at the past two months with pride after implementing successful seasonal campaigns where they have served the customer well.
However, he added: "Sales are only one side of the equation, and time will soon reveal the true cost of the promotions and margin squeezes used to drive these sales."