U.K. retail sales climbed 5.3% on year in December vs +1.8% in November and blew past consensus of +2.6%.
On month, sales grew 2.6% vs +0.1% and +0.4%.
Excluding fuel, sales +6.2% on year vs +2.1% and +3.2%. On month, sales +2.8% vs +0.2% and +0.3%.
The pound takes a leap and is +0.5% at $1.6438, although the FTSE 100 is flat.
The positive data is in marked contrast to the difficult holiday season for major retailers such as Debenhams, Tesco and Marks & Spencer.