UK retail sales rose by an annual 2.6% in January as a cold snap in the first two weeks prompted shoppers to hit the New Year sales.
The British Retail Consortium and KPMG Retail Sales Monitor found a good reaction to clearance Sales in clothing, helped by the colder weather in the first two weeks of the month. It noted that this had a varied impact on retailers’ profitability, with some being forced to give away margins.
Knitwear and outerwear were highlighted as standout categories, while dresses and leggings lagged behind this performance. Kidswear and kids’ footwear were particularly strong during the month, as children returned to school so wardrobes were refreshed.
Clothing retailers reported increased footfall in stores, after two months of decline, but online demand continued to outpace store sales.
Footwear retailers reported higher footfall in stores, while online conversion rates decreased, resulting in a lower online penetration rate than the previous year.
David McCorquodale, UK head of retail at KPMG, said: “Fashion and the home drove retail sales to beat the January blues, up 2.6% in the month on a like-for-like basis. After a slow start to the autumn/winter season, fashion and footwear sales soared in the early half of the month as promotional pricing caught the eye.”