The latest measure of retail sales is up 1.7%, more than treble the rise economists were expecting, but the spending spree may not last.
Morrisons belatedly launches its online service. But all supermarket chains are facing greater competition in the delivery market.
After dire warnings of a 'sea of red' on the high street, we're starting to get a flavour of how we all really spent before Christmas.
The British High Street has "the most competitive food landscape for some time," according to retail mogul Sir Philip Green.
The businessman was under no illusions about how competitive food retail had become in the UK.
– Sir Philip Green
There's no point in opening up and getting torn apart because we haven't got competitive prices.
We know what we're going into - the most competitive food landscape for some time.
On the basis that everyone is going into the high street and convenience, maybe it's an opportunity. If you don't buy a ticket, you can't win the lottery.
Billionaire Sir Philip Green will reportedly use BHS to start selling discounted food in a bid to join the supermarket price wars.
The retail mogul told the Sunday Times the branded goods sold at BHS department stores would be around 10% cheaper than those from Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons.
Sir Philip, who owns a number of the High Street's big names including Topshop, wants to take on cut price food retailers like Aldi and Lidl.
BHS is to see its first two shops to offer food, in Staines and Warrington, within days, - with plans for about 140 such outlets.
The openings will reportedly see sections of stores set aside for branded products such as bread and cakes, frozen items and soft drinks.
KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale says aside from grocers, retailers will feel "heartened" by post Christmas sales figures.
– KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale
Other than the grocers, retailers will feel heartened by these post-Christmas figures.
The divide between food and non-food is stark, with the battle for market share in food remaining ferocious, customer loyalty fickle and cost deflation being passed through to the consumer.
Constant downpours failed to put off shoppers last month as retail industry figures published today pointed to the strongest sales growth since March 2010.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG said total sales in January rose 5.4% on a year ago as improved job prospects and the recovery in the housing market led to a strong month for homewares and furniture businesses.
However it was not all good news across the sector, with grocers again squeezed by very low levels of sales growth.
As Morrisons online delivery gets going, Tesco tells me they have made a whopping 170 MILLION online deliveries since target started
The chief executive of Morrisons has told ITV News' Business Editor Laura Kuenssberg of his surprise at the popularity of online deliveries - and admits his regret over not launching the service earlier:
Dalton Phillips tells me he's surprised by how shoppers have gone digital 'I wish we'd started earlier' as he launches Morrisons online
Phillips admits they re being hit by discounters, not just move online and says customers more skint than this time last year
Morrisons CEO Dalton Phillips has made the supermarket first online delivery in the Midlands.
Dalton Phillips doing Morrison's first online delivery! http://t.co/WIsn4pdiVO
Figures from the British Retail Consortium show how online sales in different types of goods fared:
- Online clothing sales accounted for 21.2% of sales in December - an increase of 3% from last year.
- Furniture and flooring products bought online represented nearly a third of all sales.
- Electrical goods and toys came in at 14.4%, a fall from November's 15.5%.
The drop in electrical goods sales was attributed to consumers searching early on the web for in-demand Christmas products to get hold of them before they went out of stock.