The latest retail sales figures “are sure to lift spirits for many”, according to the British Retail Consortium.
It says like-for-like sales values in January were up 1.9% over January 2012, when they were down 0.3% on the preceding year. On a total basis, sales were up 3.0%, against a 2.1% rise in January 2012.
This is the highest total sales growth since September 2012 – and the highest like-for-like sales growth for 13 months.
Online sales were up 10.1% over January 2012, when they had risen by 11.3%.
“After a fairly subdued December, these results are sure to lift spirits for many,” commented the BRC’s director general, Helen Dickinson. “Retailers didn’t have high hopes for strong sales at Christmas, but this meant that they prepared well and headed into the New Year with less stock to clear than last year.
“People were tempted out by offers and promotions but also treated themselves to full-price and premium products early in January, particularly must-have technology items. These factors, coupled with recovering consumer confidence, have added up to a more successful January than we saw last year.
“Sales suffered during the recent cold snap, but it was thankfully short-lived and didn’t cancel out the positive showing across the month as a whole.”
She added: “All in all, these figures give a sense that the mood is lifting a little for customers and retailers. Let’s hope it continues.”
The BRC figures also show that in the three months November to January, like-for-like non-food sales rose by 0.7%, while total non-food sales for the same period were up 1.3%.