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UK retail sales fall in January

UK retail sales dipped 0.3% in January against the previous month but climbed 5.4% year on year, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

A strong performance pre-Christmas in December, during which sales edged up 0.2%, meant retailers were unable to deliver consecutive month-on-month growth despite the January Sales.

However, the rise against January 2014 marks the 22nd consecutive month of year-on-year growth, the longest period of sustained growth since May 2008.

Discounting in January 2015 saw average store prices get cheaper by 1% against December 2014, and 3.1% compared to January 2014, the latter being the largest year-on-year fall since consistent records began in 1997.

Non-seasonally adjusted data shows the amount spent in the retail industry for the whole of January 2015 increased 2.3% year on year; with the average weekly spend also up from £6.3bn in January 2014 to £6.5bn.

The value of online sales, which accounted for 11.6% of all retail sales in January 2015, was also pushed down 0.2% against December 2014, but rose 12% compared with January 2014.

Commenting on the results, Barclays head of retail and wholesale Richard Lowe said: “Compared with last year, the high street has enjoyed a positive start and, moving forward, consumers will begin to benefit from recent falls in inflation. This will free up cash for greater discretionary spend.‪

“Coupled with this week’s spring-like weather, shoppers should start showing an interest in this season’s floral prints, shirt dresses and purple hues.”

@LukeToddUK

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