Retail sales rebounded strongly in January as steep clothing discounts attracted wary shoppers, bucking a slowdown in consumer spending ahead of Brexit.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that in the three months to January 2019, the quantity bought increased by 0.7% when compared with the previous three months.

The monthly growth rate in the quantity bought increased by 1.0% in January 2019, following a decline of 0.7% in December 2018.

Year-on-year growth in the quantity bought in January 2019 was 4.2%, the highest since December 2016; while year-on-year average store prices slowed to 0.4%, the lowest price increase since November 2016.

The quantity bought in textile, clothing and footwear stores showed strong year-on-year growth at 5.5% as stores took advantage of the January sales, with a year-on-year price fall of 0.9%.

As food store prices experienced a general slowdown throughout 2018, the quantity bought in January 2019 returned to the strong growth experienced in the summer months at 3.2%.

Online sales as a total of all retailing decreased to 18.8% in January 2019, from the 19.8% reported in December 2018.

Business Growth Expert and Yomdel CEO, Andy Soloman, commented:

“Great to see the UK retail sector bouncing back after a very tough December with both a monthly lift in sales and the highest annual increase in over two years. Of course, this comes at a cost with many having to slash prices to remain competitive resulting in the lowest uplift in store prices since November 2016.

The January sales have certainly helped to bolster this performance and it’s interesting to see that despite the growing preference to do our shopping online, we still value the high street when it comes to our New Year shopping sprees – with online sales taking a dive in January.

It’s important our retailers now build on this as we’ve already seen some big names come into trouble on 2019, proving that no one is too established to suffer from this high street hardship.

Retailers need to provide the consumer with a reason to visit their store, a reason to stay, and a reason to spend.


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