The year kicks off with a respectable set of retail sales numbers that show continued momentum in the consumer economy. The overall growth rate of 4.9% is a little way above the average monthly growth rate of 3.3% recorded in 2016, something that will give retailers some cheer as they head into 2017.
That said, we believe that there are few red flags hidden in the detail of the figures, many of which suggest that underlying performance, while reasonable, is not quite as robust as it first seems. Retailers would be advised to take heed of this as it indicates the sector is in for another choppy year.. . . more