UK retailers posted a marginal growth in sales in January as consumers tightened their purse strings after Christmas – splashing out on activewear at the expense of food.
According to the Office of National Statistics, retail sales increased by 0.1%, compared to a 1.4% fall in December.
The main contribution to the year-on-year growth came from non-food stores, with sports equipment, activewear, games and toys increasing sales in the quantity bought in this sector by 10.9%.
Feedback from retailers suggested that New Year’s resolutions to “get fit and lose weight” contributed to this increase in sales when compared with the previous year.
Commenting on today’s official retail figures, Rhian Murphy, Office for National Statistics senior statistician said: “Retail sales growth was broadly flat at the beginning of the New Year with the longer-term picture showing a continued slowdown in the sector. This can partly be attributed to a background of generally rising prices.
“Growth in the quantity of sporting equipment, games and toys being bought was offset by falling food sales when compared with the same month a year earlier.
“Sporting equipment sales have grown more than usual in January 2018, following an increased uptake for gym wear.”