Consumers Rein Back Spending In January As Retail Sales Slow

Despite the fact shoppers cut down on non-essentials after Christmas, spending on food rose 2%, while online sales jumped 8.6%

Consumers Rein Back Spending In January As Retail Sales Slow

UK retailers got off to a bad start in 2017, as consumers reined in spending after the festive season.

According to new research from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), although retail spending has increased 0.1% year-on-year, this represents a significant drop from the 1.7% increase in December, and is the sector’s weakest return since August 2016.

Not surprisingly, consumers cutting down on non-essentials after Christmas is seen as the biggest factor – as shoppers had a traditionally quiet January.

Despite consumers generally tightening their purse strings, sales of furniture rose towards the end of 2016 with spending on food rising 2% in January, while online sales jumped 8.6% as more shoppers ‘shunned the high street’ – signifying the importance of businesses selling online.

Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive, said:

“Looking across the last three months, we’ve seen the slowest growth of the festive period since 2009.

“With the signs pointing to upward pressures on shop prices given rising import costs, all eyes will be on the impact of inflation on consumer spending.”

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