UK retail sales slump 8.2% in January

retail sales
MANCHESTER, UK - APRIL 22, 2013: People visit shopping area in Manchester, UK.

UK retail figures in the UK fell 8.2% over January whilst government borrowing also hit highest levels since record began.

Retail sales were 3% lower than expected by analysts, however the 8.2% fall was significantly less than the 22% over the first lockdown in April.

Compared to December, clothing sales tumbled 35% and household goods fell 20%.

Borrowing in January surged to £8.8bn. It is the first time in 10 years that more has been borrowed than collected through taxes and other incomes.

According the to the Office for National Statistics, government borrowing this financial year has hit  £270.6bn, £222bn more than a year ago.

AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould commented on this morning’s retail sales: “Unsurprising news that retail sales slumped significantly in January thanks to the latest lockdown left the FTSE 100 struggling for direction on Friday, broadly unmoved at a little above the 6,600 mark.

“A strong pound isn’t helping the index – crimping the relative value of its dominant overseas earnings in the latest reminder that the multi-national index is in no way a proxy for the UK economy.

“The run for sterling towards the $1.40 mark against the dollar reflects, in part, optimism about what a rapid vaccine roll-out would mean for reopening in the UK, setting quite high expectations ahead of Boris Johnson’s statement on the easing of restrictions on Monday,” he added.