January High Street sales much better than expected

With rumours of consumer discontent over the government’s austerity programme and the VAT rise, High Street sales were better in January, new figures released by the BDO showed.  The BDO said an increase of over 9% was reported compared to January of last year.

Retailers were helped by continued discounting and mild winter weather making for a very strong first 15 days of January. There was an increase across the board even though the figures were compared to last year’s that was affected by a large amount of snow.

Homewares and fashion reported strong increases and online purchases increased by nearly 50%. Recent comments by retailers have not been positive even though there were strong figures released by the BDO. John Lewis’s last weekly figures show a decrease in sales from the same period last year.

After a big decline in sales for the past 13 weeks, leading up to January 13, a profit warning was issued by Carpetright.  Announcing a decline in post Christmas sales as well.

The National Head of Retail and Wholesale for BDO, Don Williams, tempered the report with a cautionary statement saying the New Year blitz is over and a tough first quarter is on the way.