Retail sales fall unexpectedly in January
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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