THE continuing squeeze on household incomes saw consumer spending growth slow in January, according to data from Barclaycard.

It grew by 2.2% for most of the month and though the overall rise was 4.2%, this was skewed by a four-day period flattered by comparisons with a spell depressed by heavy snow last year.

Spending had grown by 3% in November and 2.9% in the run-up to Christmas.

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January's slowdown was blamed on the continuing fall in real wages, with pay lagging behind inflation.

Spending on utilities was down 14.8%, with less energy as the weather was milder this year, while supermarket spending was off by 1.7%.

Restaurant spending was up by 16.6%, for women's clothing it rose by 11.3%, and hotels saw a rise of 8.9%.