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Clothing sales rally in January

A combination of cold weather and January sales delivered a 5% uplift in clothing sales during January, the latest figures show.

Easter shoppers

Visa Europe’s UK Consumer Spending Index hails clothing and footwear retailers as “the real winners” of the month, helping to offset a 1.2% dip in December.

Overall consumer spending in January was up by 2.7% across the UK year on year, up from a 2.2% rise in December – the strongest annual increase since May 2015.

The report added that spend is likely continue rising in 2016, off the back of low inflation, high consumer confidence and real wage growth.

Kevin Jenkins, UK and Ireland managing director at Visa Europe described it as “a feel-good start to the year for retailers and consumers, despite the global economic jitters”.

“Spending rose most prominently on the high street, though it still looks to be prudent rather than excessive at this stage,” he added.

“Leisure and hospitality continue to outperform as sectors, but clothing and footwear retailers were the real winners after a disappointing dip in December. The arrival of the winter weather, combined with January sales, saw spend on warmer wears surge 5%.

”While ecommerce spend continues to grow strongly as ever, this is a clear statement by the high street that it can still attract customers.”

Annabel Fiddes, economist at financial services firm Markit, added: “Perhaps the most interesting sector story this month was for clothing and footwear, however, which saw a solid increase in January [5% year on year]. This coincided with a cold snap in the UK after surprisingly warm winter weather in December, suggesting that consumers topped up their winter wardrobes at the start of this year as a result.

“Overall, while a positive economic backdrop in the UK remains supportive of higher expenditure, an increasingly murky global economic picture may weigh on consumer confidence and spending in the coming months.”

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