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Retail sales show healthy surge as UK shoppers splash out

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Retail sales in the UK bounced back strongly in February after a gloomy January, as people made the most of deeply discounted prices and flocked back to the High Street to spend their cash rather than make a saving and investment with it.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed that sales volumes grew 1.4% in February compared to the previous month and 4.9% from a year earlier.

And, in a tacit admission of error, the ONS also revised its figures for January from a fall of 1.8% to one of 1.5%.

Retail analyst Deborah Harrison said: “Retailers had to discount prices again to make the sales, and prices are on average 0.3% lower than they were a year ago. This means they are feeling the pressure and you have to wonder how deep the discounts will go before they reach the bottom line.”

She continued: “To my mind, the surge in sales probably means the Bank of England will raise interest rates again in an effort to control inflation, possibly as early as next month.

“I’m also not sure if people are spending the money they have or whether they are adding to their debt burden by obtaining credit.”





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