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ONS report reveals retail industry woes on the horizon

22 February 2018 - 09:15 by Simon Crisp

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Last month saw sales stagnate across the country, according to new figures published by the Office for National Statistics. Now, analysts expect that as inflation increases over the course of 2018, more problems will arise in the retail sector.

There was a 0.1 per cent rise in sales over the past quarter, with purchases made via safe shopping online increasing by just nine per cent.

In comparison, January of 2017 saw a 19.1 per cent boost to e-commerce spending, which shows just how much the market has decelerated in the past 12 months.

The ONS study also suggests that just 16.5 per cent of sales across the entire retail industry were generated online, which suggests that its influence is actually shrinking overall.

Retailers are blaming a number of trends for this state of affairs. The start of the New Year brings with it new exercise regimes and healthy eating trends, which mean people are a little more careful with their cash and do not indulge themselves to make up for the pre-Christmas period of excess.

Report spokesperson, Rhian Murphy, said that the flat growth in the retail market was not a big surprise, with price increases across a number of products making people think about how they are spending their money.

Food sales fell last month, but there was a rise in the number of products related to sport and leisure activities that were purchased, both via safe shopping online and on the high street.

Even so, people splashing out on new kit to use when they exercise was not enough to drive sales upwards by a significant margin and consumers are having to look at their personal finances and plan ahead while inflation takes its toll when they visit the supermarket.