20 February 2012
A shock rise in retail trade was seen in January as New Year sales helped price inflation fall to its lowest level for over two years.
There was a 0.9% increase in sales volumes between December and January, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said, but the City had predicted a drop of 0.4%.
The statistics indicated that prices in January had increased by 2.2% since last year, which was the lowest increase since November 2009.
Consumers benefitted from a decline in inflationary pressures, while shops discounted goods heavily to attract the financially struggling public.
Each sector, other than clothing, reported that they had seen a slower price increase rate than in the month before.
With online shopping and supermarkets now driving the biggest volume increases, there are still worries about the high street's future.
Another recent study showed than chain stores closed 14 shops each day in 2011, as firms shifted their attention to the internet and out-of-town sites.
Copyright Press Association 2012
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