'Optimism is in the air', says new BRC report

01 Apr 2021

’Optimism is in the air’, according to the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) Economic Briefing Report.

Key insights from the new research reveals the following:

  • The latest UK economic data has been significantly better than expected. GDP fell by 2.9% in January compared to December, beating expectations of a drop of 4.9%. OBR forecast in March that the UK economy would regain its pre-pandemic size in the Q3 2022, six months earlier than it forecast in November.
  • Unemployment, unexpectedly, fell to 5% in January and the number of UK furloughs dropped by 5% in February. It looks like the economy has learnt to cope with health restrictions and can operate at higher capacity.
  • BRC-KPMG sales rose in February by 1.0%, although Non-Food sales remained in negative territory (-5.5% over the three months to February).
  • But the better-than-expected performance of the UK economy was overshadowed by January trade figures, with EU food exports down 75.5% on the year and EU food imports down 24.8%.
  • However, there is a strong optimism for a robust rebound from households and businesses alike.

Download the full report

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