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Falling shop prices keep tills ringing

The cost of retail goods fell by the biggest annual amount in 13 years in December. Average store prices fell by 2.2% compared with the same month a year earlier, according to the Office for National Statistics, while prices fell by 9.7% at petrol stations. Lower prices helped shops attract customers, boosting retail sales by 0.4% in December against analysts' expectations of a 0.7% fall. However, department stores' sales fell by 4.5% last month, the biggest monthly drop since 1996. Online spending in department stores also fell by 2.2% on an annual basis, the first time there has been a year-on-year decrease in growth in this store type. Scott Corfe of the Centre for Economics and Business Research said: 'Discounting in the retail sector is likely to be the order of the day for at least the first six months of 2015. This should support significant sales volume growth this year.'

 

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