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Thursday 02nd of April 2009
February 20, 2009

Heavy discounting boosts January retail sales


by Kay Murchie
”Heavy

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) today revealed a rise in UK retail sales for the month of January as retailers made big price cuts to entice shoppers into the stores.

The ONS said retail sales volumes rose 0.7% in January compared with December, and a rise of 3.6% compared with January last year.

The figures echo those released from British Retail Consortium earlier this month who also said sales rose during January.

The ONS said sales of clothing, footwear, books and CDs all experienced strong growth, up 6.1%.

However, while the news is positive during a gloomy period, analysts have cautioned that the rise in sales may not last.

According to Vicky Redwood, UK economist at Capital Economics, “Anecdotal evidence suggests that January spending started off very strong, but then tailed off as the clearance sales ended“.

Ms Redwood expects consumer spending to decline by about 3.5% this year while Howard Archer, chief European and UK economist at IHS Global Insight, is also expecting a decline in sales.

Meanwhile, many retailers have said that sales began to slow towards the end of January as bargains disappeared of the shelves. Today, John Lewis department stores announced a 3.2% decline in sales for the week to 14 February.

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