As the UK retail industry assesses the snow-induced damage to revenue, January sales predictions should start to fill them with confidence.
A study commissioned by online shopping comparison site Kelkoo and prepared by the Centre for Retail Research suggests that UK consumers will spend £22.5 billion during the January sales, at an average of £370 per person.
The estimated figure represents a £360 million increase on January 2010 and it is expected to mark the “last hurrah” before consumers rein in their spending during the rest of the year.
Chris Simpson, Marketing Director of Kelkoo, commented: “This January sales period could be likened to the calm before the storm for the UK retail industry, as retailers should see an average boost in spending of 1.6 per cent on last year’s figures.
“The success, or otherwise, of the January sales depends not only on what customers want and what they are prepared to pay, but also on retailers’ success during the Christmas period.
“This year, retailers are expected to have planned carefully for the festive season to avoid being left with too much surplus stock, so bargains may disappear more quickly than usual.”
Many companies have already started their sales periods in an attempt to keep people spending in the snowy weather and boost end-of-year revenue.
Homeware and DIY retailer B&Q cut prices on many of its products on December 17th - the earliest ever start to its January sales - in the hope that people will bring their big ticket purchases forward to beat the VAT rise.
Clothing retailers such as French Connection and Gap are also offering discounts of up to 50 per cent on a range of goods, while this weekend saw some UK high street businesses encouraging shoppers by advertising 75 per cent off certain items.