British official retail sales fall 0.6% in January

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.