UK: Clothing helps retail sales rise in January
An increase in the amount spent at clothing stores helped UK retail sales rise in January, according to the latest official figures.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) found sales at textile, clothing and footwear stores climbed 1.4% in value terms on January last year, but remained unchanged by volume.
Average store prices were up 1.5%. Upward pressure on average store prices came predominantly from textiles, clothing and footwear stores, as well as food.
Meanwhile, total retail sales volumes were up 4.3% year-on-year and rose 1.5% on December. The amount spent increased by 4.4% on January last year, but fell 1.8% month-on-month.
Internet sales grew 8.9% on January last year, with the growth in online spend for textile, clothing and footwear stores is estimated at 12.9%.
Ian Geddes, UK head of retail at Deloitte, said the results reflect an increase in consumer confidence, with key indicators including rising employment figures and a buoyant housing market.
"Interestingly, we saw less heavy discounting of surplus stock in January, as most retailers got their Christmas order volumes about right," he noted.
"Despite this, January's figures are still strong, even without the added boost from these extra discount sales."
In contrast to the flurry of January administrations seen in recent years, no major retailers went under last month - "a clear sign of the sector's improving health", Geddes said.
"Despite the adverse weather that has affected the start of the year, retailers will be hoping that strong sales will continue into 2014."
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