UK retail sales saw an encouraging rise of 1.9% last month, compared to January 2012 when they dropped 0.3% on the previous year.

The news comes despite the snow seen early in the new year which hampered visits to the high street.

The latest figures, from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG’s retail sales monitor, also revealed the rise seen last month was the highest total sales growth since September 2012, and the highest like-for-like sales growth for 13 months.

Total sales were up 3% compared to January 2012, while online sales only were up 10.1%.

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said: "Targeted promotional campaigns from the grocers fighting for market share helped drive strong January food sales, which triggered the first acceleration in food’s three month growth rate since last July."

Helen Dickinson, director general, British Retail Consortium, said: "After a fairly subdued December, these results are sure to lift spirits for many. Retailers didn’t have high hopes for strong sales at Christmas, but this meant that they prepared well and headed into the New Year with less stock to clear than last year."

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