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Gloucestershire Business News

Retail sales unexpectedly rise in January

UK retail sales volumes unexpectedly rose by 0.5% in January, after falling in December, official figures show.

But sales volumes dropped 5.1% compared with January last year, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Prices have risen sharply since last year, mainly due to soaring energy costs. While the rate of inflation is starting to ease, at 10.1% it remains close to a 40-year high.

Online shops were boosted by January sales promotions, the ONS said. But food store sales fell, as shoppers bought less due to the rising cost of living and high food prices, the BBC reported

Taken as a whole, retail sales volumes are still lower than pre-pandemic levels.

The ONS said December's fall in retail sales was steeper than previously estimated, as consumers cut spending.

After December's steep fall, although retail sales picked up slightly in January, the general trend remains one of decline, according to Darren Morgan, director of economic statistics at the ONS.

Fuel sales rose, as prices continue to fall at the pumps, while discounting helped boost sales for online retailers as well as jewellers, cosmetic stores and carpet and furnishing shops.

But after four months of consecutive growth, clothing store sales fell back sharply.

Food store sales dipped again as consumers reported they were selecting lower-priced goods as the increased cost of living and higher food prices continue to bite.

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