Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
Retail sales have bounced back as shoppers returned to high streets after the Omicron variant hit the UK economy…. despite the squeeze from inflation.
Retail sales volumes across Great Britain rose by 1.9% in January, faster than expected, and the biggest monthly increase since the lockdown was lifted last spring.
That recovers about half of the 4.0% drop in December when the surge in Covid-19 cases and pandemic restrictions hit spending, and lifts retail spending to 3.6% above its pre-pandemic levels.
The recovery was driven by an increase in spending at non-food stores such as household goods and garden centres.
The ONS explains:
Household goods stores sales volumes rose by 7.5% in January 2022 because of strong growth in furniture and lighting stores (16.6%) and electrical…