Commenting on today’s ONS Retail Sales figures, Euan Murray, Relationship Director, Barclays Corporate Banking, Scotland, said:
“Softer numbers for retailers in January, which was perhaps to be expected following a strong final quarter in 2016, but there’s no hiding from the fact that these are slightly disappointing figures. Despite today’s data, it’s not all doom and gloom, with many retailers I speak to still achieving good results and optimistic about their prospects for the future.
“Inflation is the buzzword on everyone’s lips at the moment, and cost and pricing considerations are now justifiably the focus of attention for retailers. The current inflation growth is being driven by fuel and food price increases, which is eating into the level of disposable income available to consumers for other purchases. Last year retailers largely resisted passing on costs to their customers, but we are now also observing smaller price rises right across the retail sector.
“With further pressure ahead for many retailers from business rate changes, we can expect more price rises in the coming months, with the extent of these price moves dependent on how effectively costs can be managed. It’s likely that the retailers who can adapt successfully and make the right judgement calls on their price points will have the most success this year.”