Retail sales fall unexpectedly in January

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Retail sales slipped back unexpectedly in January, following on from December's dip.

Official figures, from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), showed retail sales volumes dropped by 0.3% compared with the previous month, well below the 0.9% rise expected.

The ONS said the data indicated the first signs of a fall in the underlying trend since December 2013.

It said evidence suggests higher fuel and food prices were key factors.

Compared with January 2015, sales were up 1.5%, the weakest performance since November 2013.

Figures earlier this week from the ONS showed inflation rose to its highest level in two and a half years at a time when wage growth was slowing down.

Fuel prices jumped 16.1% in January, the biggest changed since September 2011.


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