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Retailers enjoy surprise rise in January sales

The January sales helped retailers enjoy a surprise rise in business last month according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Retail sales defied expectations and rrose 0.9% in January compared with December.

British Retail Consortium director general Stephen Robertson said: "These numbers are slightly better than we would have expected but make it clear that price-cutting by retailers is what's driving any growth in business. Discounting is biting into retailers' margins with non-food businesses facing particularly tough times."

Online sales accounted for about 12% of total sales, up from 9% in January last year, according to the figures.

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