UK retail sales rise unexpectedly in January

Lewis Tyler

By Lewis Tyler

February 20th 2012 at 11:20AM
UK retail sales rise unexpectedly in January

New year discounting encourages growth of 0.9 per cent.

January’s retail sales were up 0.9 per cent on December according to figures from the government’s Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The performance follows an increase of 0.6 per cent in December.

Internet sales and January discounting helped drive the growth. Kate Davies, head of UK retail at the ONS, said: "All sectors are experiencing some growth when you look year-on-year. In particular the household goods sector has risen from where it was previously; it's ended a long run of contraction.

"The most prominent driver behind this growth comes from the non-store retailing sector but also from food stores and clothing stores."

Last week a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Local Data Company showed that in December and January sales grew 1.2 per cent, beating expectations of a 0.3 per cent decline.

The same report also revealed that 5,268 shops closed last year – the most since the recession began in 2009.