FTSE 100 gains as January retail sales improve

<p>The FTSE 100 has advanced as January retail sales increase.</p>

The FTSE 100 has opened on a stronger footing thanks to buoying news that the retail sector enjoyed a better January, after enduring a difficult December.

According to new data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), like-for-like retail sales last month increased by 1.9 per cent compared to the same time last year – the biggest year-on-year rise since December 2011.

Furthermore, online sales rose by 10.1 per cent compared to 12 months ago.

The BRC stated that this boost was thanks to the growing demand for smartphones and tablet computers, while special offers also attracted shoppers to the high street in the first month of the year.

"All in all, these figures give a sense that the mood is lifting a little for customers and retailers. Let's hope it continues," said Helen Dickinson, director-general of the BRC.

At 08:50 GMT, the FTSE 100 advanced by 0.4 per cent – or 30.3 points – to an index value of 6277.1 points.

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