Retail Spending in UK Rises Slightly in January

Retail spending in the UK saw a 1.5 percent growth year-on-year in January 2017 compared with January 2016, the lowest growth the sector has had since November 2013, according to the latest official figures of the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

The country's monthly retail turnover, however, showed a drop in its January sales of 0.3 percent compared to the previous month. Its underlying pattern as suggested by the three-month on three-month movement decreased by 0.4 percent; which is its first drop since December 2013.

The ONS data showed average store prices, including fuel, has seen an increase of 1.9 percent on the year, the largest contribution of the increase was said to have come from petrol stations, where year-on-year average prices were estimated to have increased by 16.1 percent.

Online sales, excluding fuel, has seen an increase of 10.1 percent year-on-year, but fell on the month by 7.2 percent, which accounts for approximately 14.6 percent of all retail spending.

Kate Davies, ONS senior statistician, said the three months to January, retail sales had seen the first signs of a fall in the underlying trend since December 2013.

"We have seen falls in month-on-month seasonally adjusted retail sales, both in conventional stores and online, and the evidence suggests that increased prices in fuel and food are significant factors in this slowdown," Davies said.

According to ONS, looking at the amount spent, there was growth in the sector compared to the same period the previous year and in the three-month on three-month series. There was no growth on the month.

ONS data also revealed the fall in the quantity bought in the three months to January 2017 showed a continued upwards trend which was experienced in retail sales since December 2013. The data has coincided with the rise in prices following a period of steady decline. While petrol prices continue to be the main contributor to increased prices, there was also an increase in food prices on the month in January 2017. 

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