The sharp drop in fuel sales means the figures are probably better than they may seem for the high street, says Paul Dales, Chief UK Economist at Capital Economics.
“This was only the second monthly rise since July and it reversed a chunk of the falls in November and December,” he says.
The recent bad weather may put a dent in February’s figures, though.
“Admittedly, sales are unlikely to climb at this pace for long as some of it is probably just a catch up from the previous weakness. What’s more, the extremely wet weather and floods will have pushed shopping down the list of priorities in February (apart from for sand bags and wellies).”