Retail sales in January 2015 were estimated to have increased by 5.4% compared with January 2014. This is the 22nd consecutive month of year-on-year growth and the longest period of sustained year-on-year growth since May 2008
Compared with December 2014, the quantity bought in the retail industry was estimated to have decreased by 0.3%.
Average store prices fell by 3.1% in January 2015 compared with January 2014.
In January 2015, the amount spent in the retail industry increased by 2.3% compared with January 2014 and fell by 1.0% compared with December 2014.
Retail sales were broadly flat in the year to February and orders placed upon suppliers fell
The survey of 138 firms including 62 retailers showed that both volume of retail sales and orders failed to meet expectations of growth in February, following six months of very buoyant sales
30% of respondents reported that sales volumes were up on a year ago, while 29% said they were down, giving a balance of +1%, significantly below expectations (+42%) and the lowest since November 2013 (+1%)
The volume of orders placed upon suppliers fell (-7%), disappointing expectations of growth (+12%), but firms do anticipate a rise next month (+18%)
Volumes of sales for the time of year in February fell below seasonal norms (-5%), to the greatest extent since January 2014
Employment fell on a year ago (-21%), with a broadly similar fall in headcount expected next month (-19%)
Retailers still expect a moderate improvement in their business situation over the next three months.
The volume of internet sales rose (+47%) at a pace broadly in line with expectations (+49%)
Comparing the estimates for October to December 2014 with those for July to September 2014, employment continued to rise and unemployment continued to fall. These changes maintain the general direction of movement since late 2011/early 2012.
There were 1.86 million unemployed people. This was 97,000 fewer than for July to September 2014 and 486,000 fewer than for a year earlier.
The unemployment rate was 5.7%, lower than for July to September 2014 (6.0%) and lower than for a year earlier (7.2%). The unemployment rate is the proportion of the economically active population (those in work plus those seeking and available to work) who were unemployed.
There were 9.05 million people aged from 16 to 64 who were out of work and not seeking or available to work (known as economically inactive). This was 22,000 more than for July to September 2014 and 6,000 more than for a year earlier.
The proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 who were economically inactive (the inactivity rate) was 22.3%, virtually unchanged compared with July to September 2014 and with a year earlier.
There were 30.90 million people in work. This was 103,000 more than for July to September 2014 and 608,000 more than for a year earlier.
The proportion of people aged from 16 to 64 in work (the employment rate), was 73.2%, higher than for July to September 2014 (73.0%) and for a year earlier (72.0%). The employment rate last reached 73.2% in December 2004 to February 2005 and, since comparable records began in 1971, it has never been higher.