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UK sees strongest growth in retail since 2010

Feb 12
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UK sees strongest growth in retail since 2010

The UK’s retail sales were up 3.9 per cent on a like-for-like basis from January 2013, according to a new report from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Overall, sales were up 5.4 per cent against a three per cent increase in January 2013, which is the strongest growth the country has experienced in this sector since March 2010.

Furniture was the top performing category, achieving its most vigorous increase since April 2006, while other-non-food sales were the key contributor to the overall growth of the sector.

Online sales of non-food products in the UK increased by 19.2 per cent in the first month of 2013 compared to a year earlier, which is the strongest January since 2009.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, said: “Our figures for January show strong growth but a story of two halves. With a record number of people now in work and the continued recovery in the housing market we have seen very strong performances in furniture and other non-food items.”

“These figures are better than expected given the continued squeeze on personal finances but official figures show that this is not built on personal debt which remains below pre-recession levels.”

She added that customers responded with enthusiasm to a variety of sales and promotions on non-food items in January. Retailers were also successful in their attempts at tempting consumers with discounts and deals.

Businesses also experienced a strong demand for new ranges, which was helped by an improvement in the confidence of customers, according to Ms Dickinson.

The director general concluded: “January’s figures set 2014 off to a good start; however, comparisons are against soft non-food sales in January 2013, which will not be the case in February. Given the underlying conditions, it remains to be seen how the trend for the rest of the year will pan out.”

David McCorquodale, head of retail, KPMG, added that the figures mark a strong start to the year for retailers.

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