UK retail sales fell unexpectedly in January, confounding economists" expectations for a rise, reports Harris & Co Accountants Northampton.
Volumes fell 0.6% from December 2012, hurt by heavy snowfall, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
Volumes also fell 0.6% from a year ago, the first annual fall in 17 months.
The ONS highlighted weak sales in the food sector, which dropped 2.6% year-on-year to the lowest level since April 2004. It also said small stores had fared worse than large stores.