Retail sales increased in January as shops reduced their prices, according to a new survey reported in the Times. Sales were 2.3% higher than in January 2011, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse. However, prices were 1.5% lower than in the previous January, and 5.2% down on December 2011. “We have seen modest sales growth but it’s definitely come off the back of price reductions,” said SpendingPulse managing director Shweta Chaudhury. “Obviously stores gained volume, but it looks like they have sacrificed margins to boost sales.” The survey looks at spending on credit cards and estimates for cash and cheque payments.