Retail sales rose 0.9% in January compared with December, with internet sales now accounting for 12% of the total, according to new research. The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that internet sales were up from 9% in January last year. The figure was much stronger than forecast as many economists had expected sales volumes to fall.
The report showed particularly strong sales of furniture and sports goods as shoppers were tempted by steep discounts.
It builds on solid December sales when volumes rose by 0.6%.
“All sectors are experiencing some growth when you look year-on-year. In particular the household goods sector has risen from where it was previously, it’s ended a long run of contraction.” said Kate Davies, head of UK retail at the ONS.
“The most prominent driver behind this growth comes from the non-store retailing sector [mail order and internet] but also from food stores and clothing stores,” she said.
The figures from the ONS showed that internet sales now account for about 12% of total sales, up from 9% in January last year.
Shop prices are 2.2% higher than a year ago, the slowest rate since November 2009.
Liane Dietrich, Managing Director of LinkShare UK: “It was interesting to read reports from the national office of statistics today revealing that the overall value of retail sales is up 4.4%, with the textile clothing and footwear market up 3.6%. The fact that the value of sales in the fashion industry is growing faster than volume is particularly interesting, as it reflects a increased consumer confidence as shoppers snap up a plethora of brand offers at the right price.
“This shopping trend has been echoed across LinkShare’s affiliate network, instead of the bargain-hunting and the price-wars we saw at the start of the recession, consumers are now trading up to branded goods, choosing an investment piece at the right price. This is a huge opportunity for luxury brands, who can now embrace affiliate programs and new channels without “devaluing” their brand with price cuts.”