Official figures have revealed that for the month of January, retail sales across Britain managed to decline at their fastest monthly pace in almost one-and-a-half years, mainly on the back of the unusually cold and icy weather pushing down buying of household goods at the sharpest pace since 1988.
Released on Friday, numbers from the Office for National Statistics revealed that sales volumes, based in new methodology which is inclusive of automotive fuel, declined by 1.8% month-on-month in January, which is more than three times faster than the estimate pegged by analysts, and the hugest monthly fall recorded since June of 2008.
Year-on-year, however, sales were up by 0.9%.
Excluding fuel sales, overall, they slipped by 1.2% on the month, but were up by 2.6% on year.
The latest numbers have managed to highlight the fragile state of Britain's recovery from recession, and might just end up raising fresh fears that the economy could shrink once again.