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Retail sales post large monthly fall

Retail sales post large monthly fall

Category: Money

Updated: 19/02/2010
First Published: 19/02/2010

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Retail sales suffered their largest monthly fall for 18 months in January, although annually figures actually show an upturn in spending.

The snow and ice that dominated the first month of the year has been cited as a key factor for the fall which amounted to 1.8 per cent, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Discounting the sale of petrol – affected by drivers staying at home, choosing not to take on the hazardous conditions – the decline in retail sales has been estimated at 1.2 per cent.

Fuel sales fell by 11.1 per cent during the month, while food sales showed a 2.4 per cent decline.

The severe conditions, combined with the reintroduction of the 17.5 per cent rate of VAT meant a fall in sales was expected, although not at the rate shown by data.

The silver lining is the annual rise in retail sales. By value, sales were up by 3.2 percent last month compared with January 2009.

The rise was driven by increases in food and non-food sales, as well as an almost 20 per cent increase for the non-retailing sector.

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