The volume of goods sold throughout the retail sector grew by 39% in January compared with the same period in 2014, according to the latest data from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).\r\n\r\nThe CBI's Distributive Trades Survey, which polled 127 UK retailers, found that volumes grew faster than expected, partly driven by the strongest rise in clothing sales for two years. It also said that volumes were considerably above average for this time of year.\r\n\r\nAlmost 50% of those firms surveyed said that sales had increased year-on-year, with only 10% saying the volumes had fallen, giving a balance of +39%. The CBI had predicted a growth balance figure of 35%.\r\n\r\nThe body's director of economics, Rain Newton-Smith, said: \u201cAfter the sales bonanza of Black Friday cooled down, retailers saw solid footfall through the doors over the Christmas trading period, leading to further robust growth in sales in the New Year.\r\n\r\n"However, under the spotlight of strong competition, some retailers are feeling the heat on their margins. Falling oil prices and low inflation mean consumers have a bit more money in their pockets. We expect to see this translate into strong sales growth in the months ahead.\u201d\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nStory by Michael Northcott. Image courtesy of Kilnburn.