Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 10°C

ESTD 1874 Search

WIN A NEW HYUNDAI i10 - See the EADT on June 8 for full details

UK: Shock as retail sales fall 0.6%

10:22 15 February 2013

There

There's gloom on the high street as shock figures show a decline in sales

There was further gloom on the UK high street today as figures revealed an unexpected fall in sales last month after retailers suffered a snow-hit start to the year.

shares

Retail sales volumes fell 0.6% between December and January, in stark contrast to predictions that sales would rebound, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The ONS said the icy conditions hit many smaller food shops, with some forced to close as snow blanketed parts of Britain, pushing food sales volumes down 1.6%.

The figures will reignite fears that the UK economy is on course for a triple-dip recession after the first estimate of gross domestic product (GDP) in the final three months of last year showed the economy contracted.

The figures show the biggest fall in month-on-month food sales since May 2011.

A 2.6% plunge in food sales year-on-year was driven by a 14.9% fall among small shops, according to the ONS.

But the increase in online shopping is thought to have helped the large supermarket chains, which saw a record 0.3% year-on-year increase in sales last month.

The snow is also thought to have hit fuel sales, which were down 2% month-on-month, meaning retail sales volumes excluding fuel fell 0.5% between December and January.

But department stores continued their recent strong showing, with sales volumes up 1.6% on the previous month.

Today’s figures were much worse than expected, while there was also further disappointment over the crucial December trading period after a downward-revised fall of 0.3% from 0.1% previously.

Economists had expected the official figures to show a 0.5% month-on-month rise in sales volumes in January after the closely-watched British Retail Consortium’s figures for the first two weeks of January showed like-for-like sales up 3%.

Samuel Tombs, UK economist at Capital Economics, said: “Admittedly, the weakness of the official figures stands in contrast to the relatively upbeat tone of the retail surveys, suggesting that the former should not necessarily be treated as gospel.”

He said, given that the snow was largely to blame for the fall in food store sales, volumes were likely to recover in February.

But he added: “Nonetheless, 2013 still looks set to be another tough year for retailers, given the likelihood of a further significant squeeze on real pay and a weaker jobs market.”

There have been further signs of the fragile position for retailers after a spate of high-profile retail collapses this year, with fashion chain Republic becoming the latest casualty this week.

shares

1 comment

  • It's a shock to you is it ? It certainly isn't to me, you CANNOT keep taxing and cutting peoples 'Disposable Income' and STILL expect people to carry on spending money they either haven't got or will not borrow !! What we need is a change of Government, everybody is just waiting for the election !, this shambles of a so called 'government' will be kicked so far into the long grass..............!

    Report this comment

    freedomf

    Friday, February 15, 2013

Andrew Wheeler of Brewin Dolphin.

Andrew Wheeler, head of the Ipswich office of investment manager Brewin Dolphin, has hailed the firm’s “good progress”.

Thomson Airways' new Boeing 787 Dreamliner touching down at Stansted.

Stansted Airport today marked the arrival of the latest in airline technology with the launch of a new long-haul service from the Essex terminal.

'Love every drop' branding on an Anglian Water van.

Regional water and sewerage services group Anglian Water has announced an increase in underlying annual profits, following a year which marked the end of a five-year settlement with regulator Ofwat.

An LA Fitness gym.

Low-cost gym operator Pure Gym is to acquire mid-market rival LA Fitness, picking up 43 clubs for an undisclosed sum thought to be in the range of £60million to £80m.

Frank Brumby, eastern region chairman of R3.

East of England business victims of late payment saw more than one in six (16%) of their invoices paid late in the last six months, according to research by insolvency trade body R3.

B&Q parent Kingfisher said it was ploughing on with a shake-up plan

B&Q parent Kingfisher said today it was ploughing on with a shake-up plan “at pace” as it reported a first quarter slide in sales at the DIY chain.

Sarah Howard, president of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, and Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, at the celebration marking the first year of work by the New Anglia Growth Hub.

Supporters and staff from the New Anglia Growth Hub today celebrated its first year of work.

The new Escape lounge at Stansted Airport.

A new business lounge at Stansted Airport has been used by more than 9,000 visitors in its first month.

Rooney Anand, chief executive of Greene King.

Proposals from pubs and brewing company Greene King designed to address concerns over its agreed acquisition of the Spirit Pub Company look set to be backed by the UK’s competition authority.

Angus Berry, energy manager at Thames Water, and Richard Robey, sales and marketing director at Haven Power.

Haven Power, the specialist supplier of electricity to UK businesses, has signed a deal with Thames Water worth more than £500million over the next five years.

Most read

Most commented

Topic pages