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ONS data for January 2023: How Has The World Of Retail Reacted?

ONS data for January 2023: How Has The World Of Retail Reacted?

ONS data for January 2023

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has recently released results about the performance of UK retail in January. Unsurprisingly there is a fair amount of gloom attached to the results, but there have been one or two positive points and it’s always important for those working for a fashion photography studio in London and the UK to stay up to date on what these results mean.

The headline figure of sales volumes grew by 0.5% in January 2023, something of an unexpected rise compared to a 1.2% fall in the previous month. However, clothing stores didn’t see such positive results, falling back and overall retail sales volumes are still a significantly down compared to pre-pandemic figures.

We’ve taken a look at the reaction from some of the leading figures in UK retail and shared their thoughts below.

Let’s see what the experts have said about the report

Whether working for a retailer, fashion brand or fashion photography studio it is important to understand what the data means to those in the industry.

Director of Economic Statistics – Darren Morgan

The ONS director of economic statistics focused on the particularly mixed nature of the results. They noticed that the surprising increase in January hasn’t changed the general trend of declining figures. This is embodied by focusing on clothing stores that despite months of growth have seen a sharp fall.

Darren Morgan attributed some of this increase in January to higher levels of discounting aimed at boosting online sales.

Retail Lead for UK & Ireland at EY – Silvia Rindone

Silva Rindone at EY focused on the wider picture by reflecting on sales volume results over the period of November to January. These calculations show a striking 5.7% decrease in sales volumes when compared to the same period in 2022.

Whilst seasonal trends do make this less unexpected, the cost-of-living crisis and stricter budgeting by households as we move into 2023 will be a challenge for retailers across the country. As a fashion photography studio in London, this could mean less spending by fashion brands and retailers on their marketing.

British Retail Consortium CEO – Helen Dickinson

The British Retail Consortium is often a good barometer for the feeling of retailers across the UK. The CEO, Helen Dickinson, highlighted January sales helping growth figures but that rising inflation has hit larger purchases and is impacting consumer confidence as well as supply chain cost increases.

They do note that retailers are working to tackle rising prices by cutting costs and minimising price rises where possible. Something that customers will like the sound of right now.


We’ve hand-picked a selection of leading figures in the world of fashion and retail, yet many more have echoed the feeling that whilst January’s growth figure is surprising and welcome it doesn’t really change the overall picture for the industry right now. No matter whether you’re a fashion photography studio in London or a retailer in Manchester, challenging times will continue due to economic pressures.

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