Retail sales rose by 1.9% in January 2022 following a fall of 4% in December 2021, data from the Office for National Statistics shows.
Sales are 3.6% above their pre-coronavirus levels in February 2020 and grew in the twelve months to January 2022 by 11.6%.
Automotive fuel sales rose by 4.1% following a fall of 5% in December 2021 but are 3.3% below their February 2020 levels.
Food store sales fell below pre-coronavirus levels for the first time, while non-food stores sales rose by 3.4% in January 2022 but remain 1.1% below their February 2020 levels.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:
"Falling COVID-19 cases and the slow return to offices offer hope for town and city centres that were hardest hit by the pandemic.
"Yet, rising inflation means households may be preparing for future falls in disposable income, including from April's National Insurance and energy price cap rises.
"Retailers face similar challenges, with increases in transport and energy costs, global commodity prices and domestic wages."
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