UK retail sales increase

Figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reveal retail sales in the UK increased in the first month of the year.

The Retail Sales Monitor January 2009, from the BRC and advisory services firm KPMG, shows values increased by 1.1 per cent on a like-for-like basis when compared to the same month last year.

According to the organisation, this represents the best performance since May 2008, when sales were spurred by sunny weather.

Food sales were the driver of the increase, displaying a 5.1 per cent rise, while the non-food sector experienced a 1.6 per cent fall.

In addition, the report notes that the month opened well, with sales then declining as clearance offers began to end.

Figures also show non-food, non-store sales were 19.2 per cent higher this year, although they were down on the 30 per cent rise in December 2008, when consumers used the internet for Christmas purchases.

Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, adds: ‘These surprisingly good figures give some room for optimism. Overall sales growth turned positive and is higher than it’s been since last May.’

Last month, the organisation’s research claimed December 2008 was the worst month in the survey, with sales falling by 3.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

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