Bargain-hunters boost hopes that retail uplift may help stave off triple-dip recession
Latest figures are anticipated to show that retail sales volumes rebounded last month, as bargain-hunters were tempted by clearance sales offers and must-have technology.
Economists are expecting a 0.5% month-on-month rise for sales in January, boosting hopes the UK economy can avoid a triple-dip recession.
The news follows a spate of high profile retail collapses and a dismal 0.1% fall in volumes over the crucial December trading period.
Fears that snow and ice in mid-January would deter shoppers were calmed by the British Retail Consortium's figures for the first two weeks of January, which showed a strong start to the year with like-for-like sales up 3%.
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Philip Shaw, chief economist at Investec, said: "It is feasible that the survey is correct and retail sales are recovering. Employment has risen by over 500,000 over the past year while real net household incomes are estimated to have risen by 2.8% in the year to the third quarter."
The BRC said shoppers bought televisions, tablet computers and smartphones and demand for footwear was strong, with Wellington boot sales boosted by the snow.
Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS Global, said: "The BRC survey not only diluted concerns that the snow could have had a serious dampening impact on the economy, but it raised the possibility that consumers could be reasonably active over the coming months and help the economy grow."
But there are still signs of the fragile position for retailers after a spate of high profile retail collapses, with fashion chain Republic the latest big name to call in administrators this week, joining the likes of HMV, Jessops and Blockbuster, which all collapsed last month.