Retail sales increased in January as ‘pent-up consumer demand’ eased, the latest data shows.

The volume of sales increased 0.9% during January compared with the previous month, according to the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The amount spent increased 1.2% during the same period and both measures registered 2.1% and 0.8% increases compared with January 2019.

The increases were driven by a 3.9% uptick in the amount of fashion sales and a 1.6% increase in department store sales. The amount of household goods bought dropped by 1.1% compared with the previous month.

However, during the three months to January 2020, the amount purchased fell by 0.8% compared with the previous three months with declines across retail sectors.

The value of sales also fell during the same period by 0.5%.

Barclays head of retail and wholesale Karen Johnson said: “Last year was characterised by nervousness in the market, which led to muted spending and frustration for many businesses.

“January’s ONS figures offer a glimmer of hope that this pent-up consumer demand could now slowly be being released, but the jury is still out on this at the moment.

“Looking further ahead, 2020 looks set to be defined by a number of key trends. A shift in spending towards the experience economy will limit the money being spent on traditional gifts and presents, whilst the increasing prominence of ‘conscientious consumers’ will bring environmental issues to the fore of business decision making.

”The battle between retailers for share of the consumer wallet will change dramatically over the months ahead, but whatever shape it takes it looks set to be a fierce scrap.”