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Bank's shock tactics have not paid off

Shoppers seem not to have been affected by the surprise interest rate hike in January, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).The BRC's monthly retail sales monitor records similar levels of annual growth during February - 3.3 per cent - as for the period from December to January - three per cent.In an attempt to curb consumer spending, with the ultimate aim of diminishing upward inflationary pressures, the Bank of England announced another shock rate rise in January.Yet three interest rate increases within the space of five months have not shown any major impact on UK high streets.BRC director general Kevin Hawkins describes today's figures as a "reasonably good set of results". He said: "Clothing and big-ticket categories in general, however, remain sluggish and growth remains heavily slanted towards the grocery sector. It would appear that the November and January rate increases have yet to work through to consumer spending."

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