Traders catch cold in the Arctic weather

BRITAIN'S big freeze left retailers out in the cold this month as the sector reported its worst sales performance since August, figures revealed today.

The end of the temporary valued added tax (VAT) reduction also hit sales in what is traditionally a buoyant month at the height of the January clearance season, according to the latest survey from the CBI.

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The business group's monthly survey – conducted between 4 and 15 January at the height of the snow and adverse weather – found 36 per cent of retailers saw sales fall, while 28 per cent reported a rise.