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January sales expected to boost UK retailers after snow-addled Christmas

22 December 2010 - 10:49 by Simon Crisp

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While the poor weather conditions have affected deliveries and made shopping on the high street and safe shopping online equally treacherous, it looks like next month the retailers can breathe a sigh of relief, as consumers are expected to spend billions during the January sales.

Analysis from the Centre for Retail Research and commissioned by online comparison site Kelkoo, has concluded that the total spend next month will top £22.5 billion, or the equivalent of around £370 for every person in the UK.

This is an increase of £360 million compared to the same period last year, or the equivalent of a 1.6 per cent rise, which means that consumers who did not manage to get every product they wanted before the festive season descended into snow-stifled chaos, will be out in force come the new year.

Significantly, the figures suggest that January could be one of the best months in 2011, as the rest of the year is set to be a relatively austere one in retail because government cuts and rising VAT will cause consumers to tighten their purse strings.

Kelkoo's Chris Simpson, points out that consumers will need to be on their toes if they want to nab a bargain via safe shopping online this January. He says that many retailers have ordered goods so as to avoid being left with a surplus and, as such, the best selling items will probably be sold out far quicker than in previous years.

The traditional January sales have been creeping closer and closer, with some retailers even starting their discounting in December in an attempt to get consumers to part with their cash before VAT is hiked upwards at the start of 2011. Expect to see significant discounts of 75 per cent or more next month.