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UK Retail Sales Strongly Rebound In January

UK retail sales rebounded strongly at the start of the year, rising at a faster-than-expected pace, led by robust clothing and footwear sales supported by price cuts, preliminary data from the Office for National Statistics showed on Friday.

Retail sales including auto fuel rose 1 percent from December, when they decreased 0.7 percent. Economists had expected a 0.2 percent gain.

On a year-on-year basis, retail sales including auto fuel rose 4.2 percent in January, which was the biggest increase since December 2016.

Economists had expected sales growth to rise modestly to 3.4 percent from December's 3.1 percent increase.

Excluding auto fuel, retail sales climbed 1.2 percent monthly reversing a 1 percent slump in December. Economists had forecast a modest 0.2 percent gain.

Compared to a year ago, retail sales excluding auto fuel grew 4.1 percent in January after a 2.9 percent increase in December. That was the fastest increase in six months. Economists had forecast 3.2 percent gain.

"Clothing stores saw strong sales, luring consumers with price reductions, with food sales also growing after a slight dip over Christmas," ONS Head of Retail Sales Rhian Murphy said.

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