The CSO have published the preliminary January figures for the Retail Sales Index. When the December figures were released we concluded that they were not 'turning the corner'. The conclusion is largely unchanged on inspection of the January figures.
Retail sales in January 2010 are down on the January 2009 figure but the annual rate of decline on a monthly basis is showing some signs of improving.
The improvement in the volume index is less pronounced. See here.
We have still got quite a way to go until we reach the 0% line and return to positive growth. This is unlikely to get much better in February as the Exchequer Returns just released indicate that the VAT take for February was down on the Feb 09 figure.
The pattern of the index does not make pretty viewing.