UK Retail Sales Increase By 0.4% In January: BRC–KPMG

By Dayeeta Das
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UK Retail Sales Increase By 0.4% In January: BRC–KPMG

Retail sales in the UK saw a 0.4% increase in January of this year, according to the latest BRC–KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.

This growth is above the three-month and 12-month average declines of 0.4% and 0.2% respectively.

Chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, Helen Dickinson OBE, said, "January saw a return to growth, however recent political uncertainty and a decade of austerity appear to have ingrained a more thrifty approach to shopping among consumers."

Food sales in the UK declined 0.1% on a like-for-like basis, and increased 0.6% on a total basis, in the three months to January 2020.

This is below the 12-month total average growth of 1.2%, and the lowest since February 2017, the study found.


'Yet To Recover Momentum'

IGD chief executive, Susan Barratt, said, "Growth has yet to recover momentum as the new decade gets underway. Even with January being a typically ‘slow’ month, the start to 2020 has proven to be especially disappointing, with sales growth falling behind previous years."

Non-food retail sales dropped 1.5% on a like-for-like basis and 1.3% on a total basis, during this period.

However, non-food sales registered a marginal year-on-year growth in January 2020, the study revealed.

Partner and UK head of retail at KPMG, Paul Martin, commented, "January is usually a quieter month for retail, and although static sales might not appear triumphant, at least it is no further deterioration."


Online Sales

In the online segment, sales of non-food items increased by 2.5% in January. This growth is lower than the three-month and 12-month averages of 2.6% and 3.1% respectively.

In January of this year, the non-food online penetration rate increased to 30.6% from 29.5% last year.

Impact Of Brexit

Martin believes that retailers can hope to re-engage with consumers as Brexit is now technically behind them.

"Retailers are walking a tightrope between navigating any impact on their industry alongside ongoing changes in consumer behaviour," he added.


According to Barratt, UK shoppers were more confident in January of this year, with only 36% expressing concerns about the future of the UK economy post Brexit, compared with 43% in January last year.

Tighter Margins

Dickinson also said that UK retailers were working on tighter margins due to weak consumer demand and increasing costs.

She urged the Government for a commitment to bring down the overall burden of business rates in its upcoming review.

"In the short term, a move in the Budget to address Transitional Relief, which has seen retailers subsidising other industries by almost £500 million since 2017, would prevent further shops closing and save jobs," she said.

© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Dayeeta Das. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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