January sales succeed in raising footfall on the UK high-street
New data from The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has shown a rise in the quantity of goods sold in the UK month-on-month, rising by 1% in January 2019, after a 0.7% drop in December 2018.
The rise in retail numbers is suggested to have been influenced by the large number of January sales and discounts which has revived activity in the UK’s high-streets, with shoppers keen to grab a bargain.
Comparing the amount of sales to a year ago, retail sales are up 4.2% in January, marking the greatest annual increase since December 2016.
The news will come as a relief for retailers who have experienced a slowdown in footfall on the high-street following the World Cup last year, with many concerned that the competition from online outlets is persuading people out of making purchases in store, favouring the ease of shopping from the comfort of home instead.
Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, said in an article for the BBC: "January's jump in retail sales shows that most households have maintained a happy-go-lucky mentality, despite the fraught political situation. While consumers' confidence is down, this reflects rather fuzzy expectations that Brexit might be costly eventually."
One of the ways that we have seen retailers try and lure people back to stores is through experiential retail, a strategy which involves making the shopping experience more personal and tailored, making it a more enjoyable event and giving the shopper something which can’t be matched online.
We believe that this trend is one which will come to the fore in 2019 as the competition between online and in-store hots up. For now, though, it seems the high-street’s appeal is still there.