Monday 10 February 2014 9:03 pm

Retailers kick off new year with biggest sales boost since 2010

A BUMPER January saw British retailers record the fastest growth in sales for over three and a half years, with a 5.4 per cent boost when compared to January 2013. Online sales led the increase once again, expanding by a stunning 19.2 per cent over the 12 month period, the strongest result for internet retailers in nearly five years. The figures come from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG’s latest retail sales monitor, released today. “These figures mark a strong start to the year for retailers. Most will take much from the positives and see genuine light at the end of the tunnel. However, behind the scenes some have had to discount heavily to secure these sales and will now be counting the cost of this strategy. Others have genuinely beaten expectations,” added David McCorquodale, KPMG’s head of retail. In the three months to January, the split between food and non-food transactions was stark, with sales of food up only 0.8 per cent, against 5.1 per cent growth in non-food items. On a like-for-like basis, food sales actually declined. The growth of internet sales has been an ongoing phenomenon in the retail sector, but the expansion recorded in January was particularly strong, compared to average growth of 12.6 per cent during the last 12 months.