Investing.com - Retail sales in the U.K. unexpectedly fell in January, showing a weaker consumer and dampening optimism over the impact on the British economy at the start of 2017, official data showed on Friday.
In a report, U.K. Office for National Statistics said that retail sales decreased 0.3% in January from the prior month, compared to the previous decline of 2.1% which was revised down from a previous 1.9% fall.
Analysts had expected January's reading to rise by 0.9%.
Year-on-year, retail sales increased 1.5% last month, compared to forecasts for growth of 3.4% and December's 4.1% advance which was revised from the initial reading of a 4.3% gain.
Core retail sales, which exclude automobile sales and fuel, decreased by 0.2% in January, compared to the prior 2.2% decline which was revised from an initial 2.0% decrease.
Analysts had expected core retail sales to rise by 0.7% last month.
Year-on-year, core retail sales rose 2.6% in January, compared to the previous month's 4.7% increase (initially 4.9%) and the consensus forecast for 3.9% advance.
In an immediate reaction, GBP/USD traded at 1.2408 from around 1.2462 ahead of the release of the data, EUR/GBP was at 0.8572 from 0.8542 earlier, while GBP/JPY traded at 140.21 compared to 140.75 before the report.
Meanwhile, European stock markets traded lower. London's FTSE 100 fell 0.18%, the Euro Stoxx 50 lost 0.54%, France's CAC 40 traded down 0.81%, while Germany's DAX retreated 0.42%.
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