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US retail beats cold weather in January


Retail in the US is showing strong signs of resurgence as sales grew by 4.8 per cent year-on-year last month despite severe weather, according to new data.

A report by the International Council of Shopping Centres (ICSC) tallied monthly trading results from 32 leading retailers in the country to create the comparable store sales total.

Snow storms across large parts of the country during the period disrupted transport links for much of January but trade still managed to achieve its largest growth since November’s 5.4 per cent rise.

“Retailers weathered the storms in January, both literally and figuratively,” said Michael Niemira, Chief Economist at the ICSC.

“This gain is encouraging especially given the drag on sales created by the winter storms in the north-east and south-east, and suggests relatively healthy underlying consumer demand.”

January trading across the pond compares starkly with recent British retail results, with several retailers reporting a dip in sales over Christmas and general industry metrics causing some concern.

Consumer confidence in the UK saw its biggest fall in 20 years during last month, following on from a record drop in family spending power in December according to the monthly Asda Income Tracker.

The list of UK retailers who blamed December’s snow for slow trading includes, Alexon, Matalan, Debenhams, JJB Sports, and HMV, with this brittleness contrasting significantly with American industry’s resilience.

Both nations’ economies are reliant on strong consumer spending and so after emerging from the global recession the UK will hope it can soon match the sales growth now being seen in the US.

Published on Friday 04 February by Editorial Assistant

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