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UK retail sales unexpectedly drop

UK retail sales
Retail in Britain   Consumers are beginning to feel the squeeze

Retail sales in the UK unexpectedly fell in January, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.


This is a sign that consumers are beginning to feel the squeeze amid a rise in inflation.

Sales were down 0.3% on the month, missing economists' expectations of a 0.9% increase and following a downwardly-revised 2.1% drop in December.

In the three months to January, sales were down 0.4% compared to the previous quarter, marking the first fall since December 2013.

On the year, retail sales rose 1.5%, undershooting expectations for a 3.4% jump. Meanwhile, sales excluding auto fuel declined 0.2% on the month and 2.6% on the year.

The report also showed that average store prices including fuel rose 1.9% compared with January 2016, which is the largest year-on-year price increase since July 2013.

ONS senior statistician Kate Davies said: "In the three months to January, retail sales saw the first signs of a fall in the underlying trend since December 2013.

"We have seen falls in month-on-month seasonally adjusted retail sales, both in conventional stores and online, and the evidence suggests that increased prices in fuel and food are significant factors in this slowdown."


 

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