Bloomberg News

U.K. Retailers Have Second-Worst January Since 1995, BRC Says

February 07, 2012

Scott Hamilton

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) -- U.K. retailers had their second-worst January on record last month as the weaker economic outlook prompted consumers to curtail spending, the British Retail Consortium said.

Sales at stores open at least 12 months, measured by value, fell 0.3 percent from a year earlier, the London-based trade group said in an e-mailed report today. Only 2010 saw a bigger January decline since the survey began in 1995. Demand for home accessories fell, clothing-sales growth was “near zero” and food transactions “slowed sharply,” the BRC said.

“As 2012 gets under way, it’s clear people don’t feel any better about the immediate future than they did 12 months ago,” Stephen Robertson, BRC director general, said in the report. “Customers parked their worries in December and spent, encouraged by discounts. Now, in the new year, reality has bitten again as concerns about jobs, wages and household costs reassert themselves.”

The BRC report showed that in the three months through January, food sales rose 1.7 percent on the year while non-food sales fell 0.8 percent. Including stores open less than 12 months, the value of retail sales rose 2.1 percent in January from a year earlier.

--Editors: Andrew Atkinson, James Hertling

To contact the reporter on this story: Scott Hamilton in London at shamilton8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Craig Stirling at cstirling1@bloomberg.net


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