23 January 2003, 13:37  UK retail sales surprise with Xmas rise

UK retail sales registered a surprise increase in December, rising by 1.1pc on a seasonally adjusted basis from a month earlier, according to figures published today by the office of National Statistics. Analysts had forecast a fall of 0.2pc in December retail sales on the basis of downbeat reports of Christmas shopping levels. On a year-on-year basis, retail sales grew 6.4pc in December, against economists' expectations of 4.3pc. Retail sales rose an upwardly revised 1.5pc in November for a 4.1pc annual rise. In the three months to December sales rose an adjusted 1.8pc on the previous three months and were up 5.5pc over the same period a year ago.
The rise in retail sales last month was led by rises in non-store retailing and repair sales, as well as a rebound in textile, clothing and footwear. Sales at food stores rose 0.7pc in December from the previous month, after rising 1.6pc in November. Non-food stores saw sales rise 1.1pc last month, after falling 0.1pc in November. //www.fxcentre.com

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