Warning that more High Street brands could go amid Brexit chaos despite January sales boost

Shoppers in Hull in January. Picture: James Hardisty
Shoppers in Hull in January. Picture: James Hardisty
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A 2.2 per cent boost for retail sales in January is a “welcome return to growth” after “disappointing” figures in December, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said.

However, analysts at KPMG say the figures are indicative of the “British shoppers’ obsession of bagging a bargain and price inflation”, rather than any real improvement, and that “peaks and troughs continue to leave retailers feeling increasingly anxious.”

The January sales increase is the highest growth since June, and also represents a 1.8 per cent increase on a like-for-like basis from January 2018, the BRC said.

However, chief executive Helen Dickinson warned there was “no guarantee” momentum would continue after the traditional sales period ended.

She added: “Furthermore, the risk of a disruptive no deal Brexit could see these fortunes reversed. Unless the Government want to see well-known brands disappearing from our high streets in 2019, they should work with their colleagues in Parliament to find a solution that avoids the shock of a no deal Brexit on 29 March and removes the risks to UK consumers.”

Paul Martin, UK Head of Retail at KPMG said while furniture and fashion sales were boosted, online sales continued to slow.