Bargain hunters bring much-needed boost to the retail sector

| February 10, 2009 | 0 Comments

According to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), like-for-like retail sales in January rose 1.1% compared with a year earlier.

The BRC Retail Sales Monitor, which is also compiled by KPMG, covers the four weeks between 4 January and 31 January.

The rise was attributed to heavy discounting which encouraged consumers to spend, said the BRC.

The strong overall performance was driven by food sales, which were up 5.1%. Sales of non-food items fell by 1.6%.

However, while the January rise is seen as good news, the BRC cautioned that non-food items remain under pressure due to weak economic conditions.

Towards the end of January, sales growth had weakened as clearances ended, with sales of clothing, footwear, homewares, and health and beauty products all down.

The BRC also warned that job security remains a concern for many and consumer confidence remains at an all-time low so the January rise may be just a ‘blip’.

Interest rate cuts are currently at an all-time low of 1% but the BRC explains that the full impact of the cuts could take up to a year to filter through to the High Street.

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