An economist has predicted that 2013 will be a tough year for retailers, in reaction to the latest retail figures.
Samuel Tombs, UK economist at Capital Economics, said:
Admittedly, the weakness of the official figures stands in contrast to the relatively upbeat tone of the retail surveys, suggesting that the former should not necessarily be treated as gospel.
Nonetheless, 2013 still looks set to be another tough year for retailers, given the likelihood of a further significant squeeze on real pay and a weaker jobs market.
More top news
Nigel Farage said Ukip's campaign would be separate from two existing No campaigns ahead of the 2017 referendum.
Murder charges against an Irish nanny, who spent more than two years in prison accused of killing a baby in the USA, have been dropped.
Charities face probe after claims they may have been involved in buying and selling widower's details.