January sales rise shows improved confidence

Retailers recorded the strongest sales growth in over a year as well-planned promotions and January sales encouraged shoppers to spend, according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium.

high street

Comparable sales rose 1.9 per cent in January, compared with a 0.3 per cent year on year fall in 2012, suggesting consumer confidence is stronger than it was a year ago.
The rise, which was driven by food sales, came despite snow around much of the country.

Total sales increased 3 per cent during the month.

There was a slowdown in online sales growth, which at 10.1 per cent in January was lower than the 11.3 per cent registered a year ago, but in line with the 12 month average.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC, says: “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. 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 retail sector has been dogged by administrations of HMV, Jessops and Blockbuster so far this year but the strong start to 2013 “gives retailers reasons to be cheerful” according to David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG.

He says: “Many retailers will look back at the last two months with pride after implementing successful seasonal campaigns where they have served the customer well.”

Joanne Denney-Finch, IGD chief executive, says the figures give cause for “cautious optimism” in the grocery market.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here