19 July 2024, 07:01
By Furniture News Feb 06, 2024

Retail sales slow in January as cost of living pressures persist

UK total retail sales increased by +1.2% YoY in January, against a growth of +4.2% in January 2023, states the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor. 

This was above the three-month average growth of +1.9%, but below the 12-month average growth of +3.4%.

Non-food sales decreased -1.8% YoY over the three-months to January, against a growth of +2.9% in January 2023. In January, sales of non-food products were in decline YoY.

Online non-food sales decreased by -4.2% YoY. The proportion of non-food items bought online (penetration rate) decreased to 35.0% in January from 35.4% in January 2023. 

Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), says: “Easing inflation and weak consumer demand led retail sales growth to slow. While the January sales helped to boost spending in the first two weeks, this did not sustain throughout the month. Larger purchases, such as furniture, household appliances, and electricals, remained weak as the higher cost of living continued into its third year."

Linda Ellett, UK head of consumer markets, Leisure & Retail, KPMG, comments: “It may be a new year, but the hangover of low consumer confidence remains, with retail sales growing by a lacklustre +1.7% on the high street, and online operators seeing yet another month of negative sales performance.

“The extraordinary weather conditions across large parts of the country did little to encourage shoppers out on to the high street, whilst continued industrial action on the rail network was unhelpful for city centre locations. Whilst there are some positive signs that mortgage rates are starting to fall and stabilise, and shop inflation has fallen to its lowest level in over a year, the feelgood factor has yet to materialise at the tills."

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