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January retail sales figure revised downwards

Despite the fact that the February retail sales figure for the UK showed an increase of 2.1% compared to January, a revision of the January figures have certainly spooked the UK stock market. Initially it was thought that retail sales fell by 1.8% in January but this has been revised to a shocking 3% decline with a return to 17.5% VAT cited as one of the main reasons why shoppers kept away from the high street. However, how could the initial figure be so wrong?

The Office for National Statistics is under more and more pressure to release economic data as soon as possible although the revision from a 1.8% fall in January to a 3% fall is very difficult to explain. There is no doubt that further information is made available further down the line after the initial figures are calculated, however if the city is supposed to rely on these figures for forecasts and investment purposes how can we believe what we see today?

We have seen an unprecedented revision in figures over the last two years due in the main to the very volatile and rocky nature of the UK economy and the UK economic recovery of late. However, confidence in the Office for National Statistics would appear to be at an all-time low and analysts are more and more concerned about further revisions in the future.

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