Sales on the UK high street rebounded by 1.9% last month as shoppers returned after the disruption of the Omnicron variant.
New figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for UK retail sales in January show that department stores, garden centres and other non-food shops have been in strong growth, with a 3.4% rise. This follows a 4% fall in December following new pandemic restrictions.
Responding to the figures, British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) chief executive Andrew Goodacre said: “We are pleased to see a rise in retail sales in January, and it is also reassuring to see on-line sales decline – down to 25% of retail sales. This is further evidence that people are reminding themselves of the benefits of shopping on high streets.
“However, it is important that we avoid the trap of thinking that all is well on the High Street. The squeeze on the cost of living and the increasing costs of running a business are a real threat to any recovery.
“Consumer confidence is fragile and more needs to be done to address the financial pressures faced by the public and businesses alike. There is a Spring statement form the Chancellor in March and it is an opportunity to reverse the proposed increase on business rates for small businesses this year.”