The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed today that sales volumes rose by 0.9 per cent compared to December. The City had expected a 0.4 per cent fall, further emphasising the surprising nature of these results.
The ONS figures also show that internet sales accounted for 12 per cent of total sales, up from nine per cent in January last year.
David Kern, the chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The retail sales figures for January were far stronger than expected. After the December increase, which was affected by heavy pre-Christmas discounting, most analysts expected a small fall in January. This increase shows that the economy is slowly improving and supports our view that GDP will return to positive growth in the first quarter of the year.”