By Mark Davidson
Retail sales grew month-on-month and year-on-year in January, new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.
Excluding petrol, the data released today indicates that the volume of sales were up 1.6 per cent in January 2011 compared to December 2010 and up 5.3 per cent on January 2010.
ONS says the rise in trading proves the effect that poor weather has on retail sales, as both January 2010 and December 2010 saw heavy snow.
The value of retail sales also grew year-on-year in January by 6.7 per cent driven by online retail as well as non-food stores.
Within the non-food sector a number of areas saw increases, with household goods stores reporting a rise of 8.1 per cent and textiles, clothing & footwear rising 4.9 per cent.
Kate Davies, statistician for the Retail Sales Inquiry, said: “The month-on-month growth of 1.9 per cent including petrol sales in January followed a decline in retail sales volume of 1.4 per cent in December.
“The underlying picture may therefore be better considered by noting that a 1.9 per cent growth in January and a decline of -1.4 in December combine to give a 0.5 per cent increase over these two months.”
Commenting on today’s ONS retail figures, Head of Retail & Wholesale at Barclays Corporate Richard Lowe said: “The strength of today’s data in part reflects particularly weak comparative figures in January last year and 2011 is going to be a challenging year for retailers.
“Today’s up tick somewhat masks a number of underlying issues that will weigh on volume growth this year, including the rise in VAT, higher import costs and pressures on household budgets.”