The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has shared its report on January’s retail sales in Great Britain.
Sales on the high street rebounded by 1.9% last month, as shoppers returned after the disruption of the Omicron variant. Statistics show that non-food stores sales volumes rose by 3.4% with strong growth in household goods stores (7.5%) such as furniture stores and electrical goods stores and department stores (7.1%).
Sales in December saw a 4% fall, attributed to earlier Christmas trading than normal in October and November, and reduced retail footfall in December, linked to concerns around the new strain of the virus.
The proportion of retail sales online fell to 25.3% in January 2022, its lowest proportion since March 2020 (22.7%), continuing a broad downward trend since its peak in February 2021 (36.5%). Despite this downward trend, the percentage of retail sales made online was still higher than before the coronavirus pandemic (19.8% in February 2020).
In response to this report, Andrew Goodacre, CEO of The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira), said: “We are pleased to see a rise in retail sales in January, and is also reassuring to see on-line sales decline (down to 25% of retail sales). This is further evidence that people are reminding themselves of the benefits of shopping on high streets.
“However, it is important that we avoid the trap of thinking that all is well on the High Street. The squeeze on the cost pf living and the increasing costs of running a business are a real threat to any recovery. Consumer confidence is fragile and more needs to be done to address the financial pressures faced by the public and businesses alike. There is a Spring statement form the Chancellor in March and it is an opportunity to reverse the proposed increase on business rates for small businesses this year.”