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British retail sales sank 0.6 percent in January from activity in December, the Office for National Statistics said on Friday.
That confounded market expectations for a gain of 0.6 percent, according to analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.
Sales meanwhile fell by a greater-than-expected 0.3 percent in December from November. That marked a downgrade from the prior figure of a 0.1-percent decline.
On a 12-month comparison, the ONS added that sales in January also slid by 0.6 percent compared with the same month of 2012.