U.K. Retail Sales Surged Most in More Than Two Years in January

 U.K. retail sales surged the most in more than two years in January, boosted by demand for clothing and computers.

The 2.3 percent jump in the volume of sales was almost three times the pace of growth forecast by economists in a Bloomberg survey. The Office for National Statistics said growth was helped by post-Christmas price cutting as retailers looked to clear excess stock.

The increase more than reverses the drop in sales in December, when mild weather curbed spending on clothing. It also reinforces the picture of an economy being largely driven by domestic demand as U.K. inflation close to zero and low unemployment boost consumer spending.

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Measured by the retail deflator, prices fell an annual 2.6 percent in January, a 19th straight decline, Friday’s data from the ONS showed.

From a year earlier, retail sales rose 5.2 percent in January, the office said. On the month, food sales increased 1.1 percent and clothing and footwear sales were up 3.3 percent.

In the last three months, total sales have risen 1.4 percent, a 26th consecutive increase.

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