Shopping (2)

Retail sales in the UK saw a big jump in January, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The volume of sales grew 2.3% from December, when they had fallen 1.4% despite the Christmas shopping season. And compared with January 2015, sales were up 5.2%.

The ONS said it marks the 33rd consecutive month in which retail sales have grown year-on-year. And on a quarterly basis, sales were up for a 26th month in a row.

Looking at the value of sales, the figures showed a 2.4% rise compared with January last year and a 2.3% increase on December. Online sales continued to grow strongly at 10.4% over the year, with a 2.7% increase from December.

Analysts attributed the growth to the colder weather seen during the month, with shoppers searching for coats and thicker jumpers before they go out of season.

Keith Richardson, managing director retail sector at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: "A cold snap brought shoppers flocking to the high street looking for winter coats, jumpers and footwear, while bargain-hunters sought to maximise on the post-Christmas sales by buying big-ticket items such as furniture and other homeware.

Online sales continued to soar, rising 10% year-on-year even as footfall rose, suggesting that those with sophisticated online and mobile operations are now attracting new customers from overseas."

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said January saw spending in retail jumped to its highest level in four months.