UK retail sales bounce back in January

British retail sales recovered in January after a disappointing festive period for many shops, according to new data out today.

On a total basis, sales were up 3.3%, against a 1.6% rise in January 2015, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) found.

This is the best growth since September, firmly ahead of the three-month average of 1.6% and the 12-month average of 1.9%.

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The value of retail sales in December was 1% below spending a year earlier, the first fall since May 2009. This was driven by heavy discounting and mild weather.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: "Following on from a somewhat disappointing Christmas period for retailers, the new year kicked off to a strong start, with 3.3% growth across all product categories and 2.6% growth on like-for-like sales.

"Retailers will welcome the positive start to what will be a momentous year for the industry. Next month the Treasury will report back on its long awaited review of the business rates system. This is the moment for the government to rebalance this tax away from property intensive industries in order to ensure that the introduction of the living wage does not have unintended consequences on our local communities and jobs.”

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