UK retail sales slowed in January as “the higher cost of living continued into its third year,” according to the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor.
Total UK retail sales increased 1.2%, against a rise of 4.2% in January 2023. This was above the three-month average growth of 1.9% and below the 12-month average of 3.4%.
Food sales grew 6.3% year on year over the three months to January, below the 12-month average growth of 8.1%.
Non-food sales saw a decline of 1.8% in the three months to January and remained in decline year on year.
In-store non-food sales fell 1.5% on a total basis in the three months to January, while online non-food sales slipped 4.2% against a 4.1% decline in the same period last year.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive, BRC, said: “Easing inflation and weak consumer demand led retail sales growth to slow. While the January sales helped to boost spending in the first two weeks, this did not sustain throughout the month.
“Larger purchases, such as furniture, household appliances, and electricals, remained weak as the higher cost of living continued into its third year.
“The milder temperatures meant clothing sales performed poorly, particularly winter clothing and footwear. It was better news for health and beauty products, which continued to sell extremely well.”
Looking forward to the year ahead, Dickinson said: “With the Spring Budget in sight, and a general election looming, government cannot afford to ignore the needs of retailers and their customers. Employing three million people and supporting families and communities in every corner of the country, retail is the ‘everywhere economy’.
“By addressing the cumulative burdens, from business rates rises to ill-conceived new recycling proposals to border control costs, the next government can unlock retail investment and boost local and national economic growth.”