BRC responds to latest retail sales rise

The British Retail Consortium's CEO has responded to the latest ONS Retail Sales Index figures, which showed 11.6% year-on-year sales growth in January (value, non-seasonally adjusted retail sales excluding fuel: J3L2),

Helen Dickinson (pictured) said, “Despite falling consumer confidence, retail sales held up well in January as retailers went to great lengths to keep up the Christmas momentum.

'Sales of non-food items, including clothing, furniture and household goods all grew by high double digits. Meanwhile, food sales dropped – though this is compared to January 2021, when most of the country was in lockdown and households were unable to eat out.'

Dickinson continued, “Falling Covid cases and the slow return to offices offer further hope for town and city centres that were hardest hit by the pandemic. Yet, rising inflation means households may be preparing for future falls in disposable income, including from April’s National Insurance and energy price cap rises.

'Retailers face similar challenges, with increases in transport and energy costs, global commodity prices and domestic wages. While retailers are going to great lengths to mitigate or absorb these cost increases, it is inevitable that prices will rise further in the future.”