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BRC-KPMG: Big ticket items drive January retail sales

Shopping centre - Shutterstock 237523567 - 725 x 500

UK retail sales rose by 2.6% on a like-for-like basis from January 2015, when they had increased 0.2% from the preceding year. On a total basis, sales were up 3.3%, against a 1.6% rise in January 2015. This is the best growth since September, firmly ahead of the 3-month average of 1.6% and the 12-month average of 1.9%.

- Adjusted for the BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index deflation, total growth was 5.1%.

- All product categories contributed to the growth, apart from Food, which turned slightly negative but the 3-month and 12-month averages for Food stayed unchanged from last month. Furniture topped the growth rankings table, a particularly strong achievement in the most important month of the year for the category.

- Online sales of Non-Food products grew 14.9% in January versus a year earlier, when they had grown 11.7%. The Non-Food online penetration rate was 21.5%, up 1.4 percentage points from January 2015.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive, British Retail Consortium, said: "Following on from a somewhat disappointing Christmas period for retailers, the new year kicked off to a strong start, with 3.3 per cent growth across all product categories and 2.6 per cent growth on like-for-like sales. This was the best performance for retailers since September and ahead of the three and twelve month averages.

"January's performance was driven by big-ticket items, in particular furniture, which is encouraging in the largest month of the year for the category. However, the performance in clothing and footwear was driven by the New Year sales. After seeing a slight recovery in December, food sales were once again slightly down in January, while the mildly positive longer term trends were unchanged.

"Retailers will welcome the positive start to what will be a momentous year for the industry. Next month the Treasury will report back on its long awaited review of the business rates system. This is the moment for the government to rebalance this tax away from property intensive industries in order to ensure that the introduction of the living wage does not have unintended consequences on our local communities and jobs ."

David McCorquodale, UK Head of Retail, KPMG, said: "Fashion and the home drove retail sales to beat the January blues, up 2.6 per cent in the month on a like-for-like basis. After a slow start to the Autumn/Winter season, fashion and footwear sales soared in the early half of the month as promotional pricing caught the eye.

"Furniture and home accessories continued their strong run as the improving property market enjoys its makeover. Following a fairly admirable Christmas, January was also a reasonable month for the grocers with total food and drink sales remaining in the black, just, for the three months November to January.

"Heading into February, retailers will be turning attention to the next big promotional event in the calendar, Valentine's Day and hoping to take a decent share of consumer spend as they'll be facing stiff competition from both the experiential and leisure sectors." 

Image: IR Stone /

Source : British Retail Consortium 


09 February 2016

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Thank you for the excellent presentation that you gave at Woodbury Park on Thursday morning. It was very interesting and thought-provoking for our Retail members. The feedback has been excellent.

Martin Elliott. Chief Executive - Home Hardware.

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