UK January retail sales +0.9% vs +0.7% m/m expected

Latest data released by ONS – 20 February 2020

  • Prior -0.6%; revised to -0.5%
  • Retail sales +0.8% vs +0.6% y/y expected
  • Prior +0.9%
  • Retail sales (ex autos, fuel) +1.6% vs +0.8% m/m expected
  • Prior -0.8%
  • Retail sales (ex autos, fuel) +1.2% vs +0.5% y/y expected
  • Prior +0.7%


Solid beats across the board with the monthly ex-fuels reading seeing the biggest rise since May 2018. That said, the three months to January sees a +0.8% 3m/y reading – which is the weakest since May 2013.

Looking at the details, ONS notes that petrol stations saw the biggest monthly fall in sales since April 2012, coinciding with higher energy prices. Meanwhile, the jump in retail sales largely owes to clothing and footwear sales.

The pound has moved a little higher to 1.2916 against the dollar but I don’t see this as being a real game changer for the UK economic outlook. The PMI data tomorrow will be of more importance in my view so expect any further gains from the release here to be limited.

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