UK high street sales rose only slightly in January even though stores slashed prices to lure in shoppers after a disappointing Christmas, data from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) revealed on Monday.

The group's monthly report said although trading was brisk last month, especially at shoe and leather goods stores, it was still well below last year's levels. It added clothing sales were slow.

Spokesman Alastair Eperon said: "The modest pick-up since Christmas cannot hide the underlying slowdown in sales growth and the fact that many retailers slashed prices to lure customers into the shops.

"These figures come at a crucial time when everyone is looking to see if consumer spending can continue to prop up the economy."