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    ONS data shows rebound in January retail sales

    A pedestrian wheels a shopper past a shop advertising a closing-down sale in Bolton, north west England on January 20, 2023. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

    Retail sales rebounded surprisingly in January on falling fuel costs and discounting by online and physical stores, official data showed Friday.

    Retail sales by volume grew 0.5 per cent last month after a 1.2-per cent drop in December, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a statement.

    Analysts had forecast a slight drop in January sales.

    “After December’s steep fall, retail sales picked up slightly in January,” noted ONS director of economic statistics, Darren Morgan.

    “In the latest (recorded) month, as prices continue to fall at the pumps, fuel sales have risen.

    “Meanwhile, discounting helped boost sales for online retailers as well as jewellers, cosmetic stores and carpet and furnishing shops,” Morgan added.

    Retail sales nevertheless remain 1.4-percent lower compared with before the start of the Covid pandemic in early 2020.

    Earlier this week, official data showed British annual inflation had dropped to 10.1 percent, although the level is still massively higher than a year ago after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine fuelled food and energy prices.

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