Retail sales increased in January, up 4.4% by value and 2% by volume on the same month in 2011, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Sales volumes were driven primarily by non-store retailing, other stores and predominantly food stores, said the ONS. Overall prices were 2.2% higher than one year ago, with price inflation at its lowest level since November 2009. British Retail Consortium director general Stephen Robertson said: “These numbers are slightly better than we would have expected but make it clear that price-cutting by retailers is what’s driving any growth in business. Discounting is biting into retailers’ margins with non-food businesses facing particularly tough times. “We are looking to the Government for steps to inspire confidence in business. Our pre-Budget research shows economic uncertainty is putting retailers off expanding their operations. “In his Budget next month the Chancellor must take steps to make it more attractive for retailers to invest and create jobs, and to improve UK competitiveness so they do that here. It’s a mistake to see retail as a sitting duck.”