Blog: January sales rise just a “blip”?
Leonie Barrie | 10 February 2009
Even though January saw the best performance from UK retailers since last May, we’ve been warned not to get our hopes up and that the sales rise could be “just a blip”.
Helen Dickinson, head of retail, KPMG, says that despite bucking seven months of declines in like-for-like sales, the figures don’t mean consumer confidence has returned.
“The results are heavily skewed by food prices creeping back up again after the heavy promotional activity in December,” she says “and by a reasonably strong performance in the first week of the month, caused by the continuation of a short-lived pick up in spending immediately after Christmas which ended by the second week.”
Non-food sales including clothing and footwear fell by 1.6% last month, but this was slower than the 7.9% drop seen in December. Again, though, the British Retail Consortium, which compiled the data, suggests this is not such a ray of hope after all, and that cash-strapped shoppers simply took advantage of the clearance sales.
“The divergence...between those that are doing well and those that are not, continues to grow, meaning the outlook for many retailers, and the industry as a whole, remains challenging,” Dickinson adds.
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