January sales failed to convert to consumer spending

January sales across the UK failed to reignite consumer spending, new figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) have shown.

According to the BRC, total sales rose by 1.2 per cent in January year-over-year, significantly lower than the annual average growth rate of 3.4 per cent. Even this increase, the consortium noted, was largely down to inflation-related product cost increases, adding that there was a drop in sales volumes both in store and online.

The BRC attributed the slowed growth to a combination of higher living costs, poor weather conditions and heavy industrial action from transport network workers.

BRC chief executive, Helen Dickinson, said: “While the January sales helped to boost spending in the first two weeks, this did not sustain throughout the month. Larger purchases, such as furniture, household appliances, and electricals, remained weak as the higher cost of living continued into its third year.”

Surmising a dour tone, the BRC said that increasing confidence from across the industry – with a number of retailers predicting a positive 2024 – was yet to convert to stronger levels of consumer spending.

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