Britons hit the shops in January with retail sales growth surging at a much faster rate than expected.
As stores cut prices to clear stock, sales were up by 2.3 percent in January compared with December.
The Office for National Statistics said volumes were 5.2 percent better than January last year.
December had been disappointing with a sales fall of 1.4 percent amid warmer than normal weather which reduced demand for clothing.
According to the trade association the British Retail Consortium furniture and home appliances sold particularly well in January as retail spending growth hit a four-month high.
Food sales were up by 1.1 percent and clothing and footwear sales rose 3.3 percent.
Average store prices were down by 2.6 percent, but that did include fuel sales at service stations which have started to pass on lower oil prices.
Dept and household goods stores saw longest period of growth since recession https://t.co/Bh1ftzEWRH— ONS (@ONS) February 19, 2016
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