Friday, February 15, 2019 - 04:30

MNI DATA ANALYSIS: UK Jan Retail Rebounds; Q4 Revised Higher

-UK Jan total sales +1.0% m/m, +4.2% y/y in Dec -UK Q4 sales revised to 0.0 q/q from -0.2% previously -UK Jan retail prices +0.4% y/y, lowest since Nov 2016

LONDON (MNI) - Retail sales volumes rebounded smartly in January, driven largely by internet activity, while dismal fourth quarter sales were revised upward, suggesting a potential improvement in household spending in later iterations of gross domestic product.

Sales jumped by 1.0% in the month of January, rising by 4.2% over the same period a year earlier, outpacing the MNI median forecast of a 0.2% monthly gain and a 3.4% annual rise.

December sales were revised to show a 0.7% decrease, better than the originally-reported 0.9% fall, leaving fourth quarter sales unchanged over the previous three months, better than the initially-reported 0.2% fall.

That revision was not included in fourth quarter GDP data released on Monday, suggesting that household expenditure could be revised upward from the originally-recorded 0.4% gain. Retail sales account for approximately 20% of household spending, according to a National Statistics official.

Internet sales provided much of the January strength, rising by 3.4% in value terms, reversing a 2.4% decline in December. That lifted internet sales to a joint-record-high 18.3% of total sales, up from 17.9% in December.

However, it appears that discounting played a role in supporting online sales, with the implied annual price deflator for non-store retailing recording no change between December and January, the weakest since November of 2016. Clothing and footwear prices were particularly weak at -0.9% y/y, the lowest reading since August 2016.

That kept broader retail prices in check, with the implied deflator for total sales increasing by just 0.4%, also the smallest rise since November of 2016.

Excluding fuel, sales rose by 1.2% last month, or by 4.1% compared with January of 2018, exceeding the MNI median forecast of a 0.2% increase on the month and a 3.1% annual gain.

-London bureau: 44 (0) 203 865 3812; email:


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