The quantity of food sales in January returned to the strong growth experienced in the summer months at 3.2%, following a general slowdown throughout 2018, according to official new data.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) data revealed that over the four-week period to 26 January 2019, the monthly growth rate in the quantity bought increased by 1.0%, following a decline of 0.7% in December 2018.

The study also showed that retail sales made a strong comeback in January across the UK, rising by 1% on the previous month, while retail sales were 4.2% higher in January on a year-on-year basis, marking the biggest annual rise since December 2016.

British Retail Consortium head of insights and analytics, Rachel Lund, said: “The new year brought a bit of cheer to retailers, after a dismal Christmas. With the school holiday extending longer into January this year and bargain hungry consumers drawn to discounts, retailers saw an uplift in spending.

“While this is positive news, few believe we are seeing the beginning of a turnaround in the fortunes of the industry: The discounts which drew shoppers into stores won’t last forever and with uncertainty surrounding Brexit weighing on consumer confidence, once the period of seasonal promotions is over, households are likely to remain cautious with their spending.”