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Economy

UK retail sales at lowest for almost a year

UK retail sales increased by 0.1% in January, their lowest growth rate since April 2017, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

The latest figures showed declines across all segments except non-food stores. The 0.1% growth fell short of the predicted increase of 0.5%.

When compared with January 2017, the quantity bought in January 2018 increased by 1.6%; a slowdown to year-on-year growth when compared with an increase of 2.4% in January 2017.

The year-on-year growth rate for quantity bought in food stores showed a decline for the sixth consecutive month with a drop of 0.9%, due largely to a continued rise in food store prices.

Sports equipment, games and toys contributed largely to the growth in the non-food sector, with a 10.9% increase sales in the quantity bought.

January internet sales saw a decrease when compared with December 2017; accounting for 16.5% of all retail. However, this was an increase on the January 2017 figure of 15.8%.

Rhian Murphy, ONS senior statistician, said: “Retail sales growth was broadly flat at the beginning of the new year with the longer-term picture showing a continued slowdown in the sector. This can partly be attributed to a background of generally rising prices.”

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