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47 DATA Encouraging January despite snow

The latest Retail Sales Monitor from the British Retail Consor- tium and KPMG found that UK retail sales values were up 1.9 per cent on a like-for-like basis from January 2012, when they were down 0.3 per cent on the pre- ceding year. On a total basis, sales were up 3.0 per cent, against a 2.1 per cent rise in January 2012. This is the highest total sales growth since September 2012 and like-for-like sales growth for 13 months while online sales were up 10.1 per cent over Janu- ary 2012, when they had risen by 11.3 per cent. British Retail Consortium di-

rector general Helen Dickinson said: “After a fairly subdued De- cember, these results are sure to lift spirits for many. Retailers didn’t have high hopes for strong sales at Christmas, but this meant that they prepared well and headed into the New Year with less stock to clear than last year. People were tempted out by offers and promotions but also treated themselves to full-price and premium products early in January, particularly must-have technology items. These factors, coupled with recovering con- sumer confidence, have added up to a more successful January

than we saw last year. “Sales suffered during the re- cent cold snap, but it was thank- fully short-lived and didn’t cancel out the positive showing across the month as a whole. Its force was felt in some areas more than others – Footwear performed well thanks to a ‘boots boost’ but it wasn’t such a good month for clothing. Online sales growth re- turned to closer to the longer-run average after a bumper Decem- ber. “All in all, these figures give a sense that the mood is lifting a little for customers and retailers. Let’s hope it continues.” David McCorquodale, head

of retail at KPMG, said: “Janu- ary’s sales figures will give re- tailers reasons to be cheerful as like-for-like sales achieved the highest increase seen since De- cember 2011. It’s a strong start to what is anticipated to be a tough year for the sector. “Many retailers will be pleased with their sales campaigns as 2013 roared into life produc- ing double-digit sales increases in several categories in the first week. Sadly a blanket of snow mid-month slowed the charge as Payday approached. “Targeted promotional cam-

RETAIL SALES VALUE: Percentage change year-on-year 2011


January February March April May June July


September October

November December

January – July average January – December average

Like for like 2.1


-3.5 5.2


-0.6 0.6

-0.6 0.3

-0.6 -1.6 2.2 0.7 1.4

Source: BRC-KPMG RSM (food & drink data from IGD) FEBRUARY 2013 SHOPPING CENTRE

Total -0.3 1.1

-1.9 6.9

-0.3 1.5 2.5 2.5 2.5 1.5 0.7 4.1

2.5 3.3

0.3 1.3

-3.3 1.3 1.4 0.1

-0.4 1.4

-.0.1 0.4 1.5

0.5 0.5

paigns from the grocers fighting for market share helped drive strong January food sales, which triggered the first acceleration in food’s three month growth rate since last July. “While technology advances

may have hastened the demise of HMV, Blockbuster and Jessops, many retailers will look back at the last two months with pride after implementing successful seasonal campaigns where they have served the customer well. Sales are only one side of the equation and time will soon re- veal the true cost of the promo- tions and margin squeezes used to drive these sales. However, it is encouraging to see such posi- tive results in what is traditionally a challenging month.” And parallel research on re- tail sales by BDO found that the strong start to the year petered out, leaving high street sales growth flat for January.

Don Williams, national head of

retail and wholesale at BDO, said: “This really was a month of two halves. People spent carefully at the beginning of the month and then, when faced with diminish- ing sale stock, terrible weather and bleak economic forecasts, they battened down the hatches.”

Investors stop shopping around

Investment in the retail sector fell by 40 per cent in 2012 in comparison to the previous year according to Lambert Smith Hampton’s latest research. LSH chief executive Ezra Nahome said: “UK retailers struggled in 2012 and it was the worst year for retail administrations since 2008; Allied Floors, Comet, Clinton Cards and JJB Sports, to name a few, went into administration. “This trend has hit the

high street especially hard; but worryingly we have seen a drop off in investment volumes for all three of the main retail asset classes, demonstrating the caution being exercised by investors.” In more bad news for the

sector the distribution market also struggled .

Nahome added: “It is unsurprising that investors are shying away from the retail sector. However, there was also a huge 60 per cent drop in investment volumes for distribution warehouses which undeniably links to the insecurity felt in the retail sector.”

The only sub-sector of the 2012

Like for like 2.1

Total -0.3 2.3 3.6

-1.0 3.4 3.5 2.0 1.6 3.4 1.1

1.8 0.3 1.9 1.8


Like for like 1.9

Total 3.0

retail market to perform strongly was supermarkets. Looking forward to what 2013 holds, Nahome predicted: “The relatively muted economic outlook for 2013 means it is difficult to see a dramatic shift in the current patterns of market activity. Overseas investors will continue to seek trophy assets in Central London, only being held back by the availability of prime assets. “Adding to this dynamic, we

expect that the base of overseas investors seeking exposure to Central London will widen even further. For example, we know some of the Australian super- funds are looking to return to the market for the first time since the recession of 2008-09.”

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