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Underlying growth slows in January

Feb '07
Underlying growth in retail sales volume slowed in January as sales fell back after a strong December, but remained robust when compared with the long-run average.

The volume of retail sales in the three months November to January was 0.9 per cent higher than in the previous three months. This follows 1.4 per cent growth in the three months to December and compares with an increase of 1.1 per cent at the same time in 2006.

The lowest three-monthly growth occurred in non-specialised stores where sales fell by 0.3 per cent, the lowest for this sector since July 2005. The highest three-monthly growth was for non-store retailing at 4.7 per cent.

Analysis of monthly figures shows that the total sales volume decreased by 1.8 per cent between December and January, the largest monthly fall since January 2003 when sales fell 2.0 per cent. The biggest contributions to the fall came from clothing stores where sales fell by 4.4 per cent. The total volume of sales in January was 3.3 per cent higher than in January 2006.

For the three months to January the unadjusted value of retail sales was 3.9 per cent higher than in the same period a year earlier. The average weekly value of sales in January was £4.4 billion, 2.8 per cent higher than in January 2006.

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National Statistics, UK

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