British shoppers unexpectedly cut back on their spending in January as last year’s Brexit vote pushed up inflation, official data showed on Friday, the strongest sign to date that the country’s economy is heading for a slowdown.
Consumers were barely fazed last year by June’s decision to leave the European Union. But they are turning more cautious with prices rising quickly in response to the post-referendum slump in the value of the pound and higher oil prices.
Official data on Friday showed retail sales volumes fell by 0.3 percent month-on-month in January, much weaker than economists’ forecasts in a Reuters poll for a 0.9 percent increase. No forecaster had expected a fall.
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