Supermarket wars push retail prices to record fall
Consumers responded to a record 3.1% year-on-year fall in prices in January by driving retail sales up by 5.4%, according to ONS data. A quarter-on-quarter sales comparison, considered to show a more accurate picture of underlying activity, showed growth of 2.3%, the strongest since April 2002. The average weekly retail spend last month was £6.5bn compared with £6.3bn in January 2014 and £9bn in December. David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce, said the impact of falling petrol prices on sales had been considerable. 'The huge decline in store prices is mostly due to a fall of more than 15% in petrol prices and supports our assessment that we are likely to experience temporary deflation later this year,' he said. According to the ONS motorists pumped 11.1% more fuel into their cars in January compared to the same month a year ago, but overall supermarket sales volumes were down 0.9% on the month. Clothing and footwear shops were 0.4% lower but department stores grew by 2.7%.
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