Official figures show retail sales in Britain dropped more than expected in January, stoking fears the economy might slip into another recession.
The Office for National Statistics said Friday that, in seasonally adjusted terms, the quantity of goods purchased in the retail sector dropped 0.6 percent from the previous month. Heavy snow is likely to have had an impact.
Sales fell by the same rate compared with the previous year, the first such year-on-year drop recorded since August 2011.
The figures were worse than economists had expected.
The estimates show a decline in goods bought in small stores but an increase for large stores. The decline was particularly steep in stores with nine or fewer employees.
Food sales dropped 2.6 percent compared with a year earlier, in terms of volume.