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UK Retail Sales Fall Sharply In January

UK retail sales volume declined sharply in January as tighter nationwide coronavirus restrictions affected demand, the Office for National Statistics said Friday.

Retail sales volume decreased 8.2 percent month-on-month, in contrast to a 0.4 percent rise seen in December. Economists had forecast a 2.5 percent fall.

Excluding auto fuel, retail sales were down 8.8 percent, following a 0.4 percent gain in the previous month. This was also bigger than the economists' forecast of -2.6 percent.

All sectors saw a monthly decline in volume sales in January except for non-store retailers and food stores.

Year-on-year, retail sales fell 5.9 percent, in contrast to a 3.1 percent rise in December. Economists had forecast a marginal decrease of 1.3 percent.

Similarly, sales excluding auto fuel dropped unexpectedly by 3.8 percent after rising 6.7 percent. Sales were expected to climb 2.2 percent.

The proportion spent online soared to 35.2 percent in January, the highest on record.

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