Retail sales rose year on year in January but growth was flat month on month.

Sales, excluding fuel, climbed 4.3% in the month compared to January 2017, the ONS reported.

However, they were flat versus the previous month.

By volume, sales advanced 1.5% year on year and 0.1% month on month.

Year-on-year growth in non-food was driven by categories such as sports equipment, games and toys.

Food volumes were down 0.9% year on year, the sixth consecutive month of decline, as prices continued to rise.

ONS senior statistician Rhian Murphy said: “Retail sales growth was broadly flat at the beginning of the New Year with the longer-term picture showing a continued slowdown in the sector. This can partly be attributed to a background of generally rising prices.

Retailer feedback indicated that New Year’s resolutions to “get fit and lose weight” contributed to the year-on-year sales uptick.

Murphy said: “Sporting equipment sales have grown more than usual in January 2018, following an increased uptake for gymwear.”