Shoppers spend petrol savings on new clothes

Tim Wallace
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Low oil costs have boosted shopping
BARGAIN-HUNTING British shoppers splashed out in January, transferring their savings from lower food and petrol prices towards other spending, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said today.

Total retail sales in January were up 1.6 per cent on the year, with food up 0.2 per cent and non-food sales up 2.7 per cent

Clothing, toys and household appliances led the growth, said the study carried out with KPMG.

But British shoppers are increasingly on the hunt for a bargain, which analysts fear could spell trouble for retailers in the coming seasons.

“These figures clearly demonstrate the difficult cycle that retailers are trapped in. Demand is now almost solely driven by discounts, with shoppers very reluctant to buy goods at full price in the hope that yet another sale could be just around the corner,” said KPMG’s David McCorquodale.

“This promotion-led environment risks becoming the new normal: retailers are struggling to persuade consumers to break the habit and go back to the traditional sales cycle.”