'January blues' hit UK retail, research finds

Post-Christmas retail sales have given way to the ‘January blues’, according to new research.

Data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reveals that in the four weeks to 28 January 2023, retail sales increased by 4.2 per cent against an increase of 11.9 per cent in January 2022 – a figure below the three-month average growth of 5.2 per cent but above the overall 12-month average growth of 2.5 per cent.

The BRC also found that retail sales only increased by 3.9 per cent in January 2023 versus an increase of 11.9 per cent in January 2022.

Commenting on the findings, Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: “Many retailers discounted heavily to entice consumer spend, and while there were bargains to be had in the January sales, retailers continue to be hit by lower margins and falling volumes.”

Dickinson added that conditions would be challenging for retailers in the coming months.

“Consumer confidence remains stubbornly low and looming rises in household bills and mortgages mean discretionary spending will remain weak,” she explained.

The news follows claims from Dickinson that 2022 saw the UK’S "biggest drop in sales volumes on record".

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