British shops proved their mettle and displayed their resilience in the face of Brexit, with retail sales jumping by a whopping 4.2% in January 2019.
Retail sales in Britain rebounded strongly in January with stores, including clothing stores, dishing out big discounts to attract more shoppers. As a result, consumer spending is creeping up ahead of Brexit.
In January 2019, retail sales rose by 1.0% following their biggest slump in December 2018, said the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Compared with a year ago, retail sales were higher by 4.2% in January, marking the biggest annual rise since December 2016.
“Clothing stores saw strong sales, luring consumers with price reductions, with food sales also growing after a slight dip after Christmas,” said Rhian Murphy, a statistician with ONS.
In the last few months of 2018, the British economy slowed down significantly although Friday’s data suggests that consumer spending remains resilient, even if other parts of the economy, including manufacturing, are struggling due to lack of clarity from Brexit.
According to a recent survey from the British Retail Consortium, shops enjoyed their fastest sales growth in seven months, which is a big relief after they suffered their worst sales in Christmas in a decade.
There has also been some comfort for consumers in recent data which has shown the fastest growth in underlying pay since 2008 and inflation falling to a two-year low of 1.8%.
The measure of inflation used in the retail sales data showed am annual increase of 0.4% in January – its smallest rise since November 2016.