LONDON British retail sales rose strongly in January, boosted by the popularity of tablet computers and smartphones while cheerier shoppers were also lured by special offers, a leading trade body said on Tuesday.
The British Retail Consortium said the total value of goods sold was up 3 percent compared to January 2011 - the largest increase since September. It rose 1.5 percent in December.
On a like-for-like basis, which excludes new floorspace, sales were 1.9 percent higher. That was the fastest rise since December 2011 and followed a 0.3 percent tick-up in sales in December 2012.
BRC Director General Helen Dickinson said the impact of unusually cold weather in January was too short-lived to have a big impact on sales growth over the month.
"People were tempted out by offers and promotions but also treated themselves to full-price and premium products early in January, particularly must-have technology items," she said.
"These factors, coupled with recovering consumer confidence, have added up to a more successful January than we saw last year."
The findings, which follow a survey showing a surprise pick-up in British consumer morale last month, may raise hopes that the economy will grow in the first quarter of 2013, dodging a 'triple-dip' recession.
(Reporting by Olesya Dmitracova; editing by Ron Askew)