Retail sales increased “modestly” in the year to January as shoppers recover from the spending splurge over Christmas.

The CBI Distributive Trades Survey said the rise was a positive sign at a time when shoppers are watching what they spend.

Data showed retailers’ fortunes were mixed across the different sectors as grocers, furniture and carpet retailers recorded a rise in sales volumes but sales at fashion retailers slumped in the period.

Retailers said they expect moderate sales growth again next month.  

Chair of the CBI distributive trades survey panel and Asda chief merchandising officer for food Barry Williams said: “At a time of year when shoppers are recovering from the excesses of Christmas and watching their spending carefully, it’s encouraging that high street sales have continued to grow.

“Grocers outperformed relative to other retail sectors, and online shopping growth has remained steady.

“While retailers predict some modest growth ahead, the prospect of continually slow pay growth is likely to mean cautious consumers for some time to come.”

Barclays head of retail and wholesale Richard Lowe added: “Today’s figures show a mixed picture, with some retail sectors faring better than others.

“Looking ahead at the next few months it is likely shoppers will be watching their finances after the expense of the festive season, but retailers will be hoping that the improving UK economy will continue to see increased consumer confidence.”