British consumers’ enthusiasm for shopping ebbed last month as post-Christmas clearance sales came to an end – and demand for homes has slipped even further, according to separate surveys to be released today.

According to the British Retail Consortium survey, retail sales rose by just 0.1 per cent year-on-year, suggesting that the pick-up in demand seen in January was a “discount-driven blip”, according to Stephen Robertson, director general.

She said the survey showed that while snowy weather at the start of February may have dented sales early on, it became evident as the month wore on that demand was genuinely very weak, regardless of weather. In fact, sales of men’s and women’s clothing had their worst month since April 2008.

Meanwhile, the latest monthly poll from the RICS showed average sales per estate agent lower than at any time since 1978, when the survey began.

Financial Times, The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Independent