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Market Commentary

​​​​Weekly Retail & Leisure News - 10 February, 2015

​January retail sales increase marginally, as food sales bounce back

UK retail sales increased 0.2% on a LFL basis in January, according to the British Retail Consortium. On a total basis, sales were also up 1.6%, against a 5.4% rise in January 2014 and are also above the 12-month average of 1.4%. Total food sales grew for the second consecutive month in January and have now shown a 0.2% rise over the last three months, the best performance since February 2014.

The UK's leading grocer, Tesco, appears to have benefitted from this strong performance as its sales returned to growth for the first time since January 2014. Tesco sales increased by 0.3% year-on-year for the 12 weeks to February 1 - is this the start of the "Big 4" fight back that we predicted at the start of the year? The grocery market grew at a rate of 1.1% in the same period, this is the fastest increase since June 2014, according to figures from Kantar Worldpanel. 

In other positive news for the grocery sector, Ocado, the online supermarket, saw its shares jump by almost 5% last week. This comes after the grocer announced a pre-tax profit of £7.2m for the year to November, a sharp improvement on a £12.5m loss the previous year. Ocado's annual revenue grew by 19.8% to £949m as it continued to lure affluent shoppers away from traditional chains and it agreed a new deal to operate a delivery service for Morrisons, which contributed £45m of sales.

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