Poor winter weather drove UK retail sales down by 1.8% between December and January, the sharpest drop in 18 months, official figures have shown.
The fall was more than three times faster than analysts had forecast.
However the figures were weighed down by the inclusion of petrol in the official figures for the first time as drivers stayed at home in the snow.
The data, from the Office for National Statistics, adds to concerns about the fragility of the UK economic recovery.
Sales by value were up 0.9% from January 2009.
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