UK retail sales slipped back during a weather-hit January but are still in a much healthier state than a year ago, official figures showed today.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said sales volumes were 4.3% higher in January when compared with a year earlier, although the figure was 1.5% lower against the previous month following a bumper Christmas.

Household goods stores are leading the sales revival among Britain's retailers, with volumes up by 9.8% in the best monthly performance since 2007.

Economists said the underlying picture for the retail sector was positive, particularly given the impact of wet weather in the month.