Interestingly, sales of general merchandise such as homeware, electrical and clothing showed improvement after months of softness. Over 2008, average growth in this category was just over 2 percent; in January 2009, sales grew 4.4 percent.
"Non-foods have struggled in supermarkets for months and it was one of the first categories to suffer as shoppers cut back on discretionary spending. Over the next few months, we will see whether this upturn is simply deferred December spending, ever more shoppers moving away from the high street or whether ‘green shoots' are indeed sprouting," said Mike Watkins senior manager, retailer services at Nielsen.
For more detailed information about January 2009 UK Sales, including data for the top grocers, please read the full release.