Christmas lacks cheer for UK retailers

Link: Festive season trading fears proven

Retail sales in the UK during December declined by 0.4% on a like-for-like basis, showing growth of 2.5% on a total basis, compared with a year earlier.

The three-month trend rates of growth fell to -0.1% in December from 0.8% in November for like-for-like sales, and to 2.6% from 3.4% for total sales.

Predictions of a poor trading season for retailers proved correct. Not even an upturn in the final few days were enough to improve sales.

‘December started slowly and got progressively worse until the Christmas week. A marked upturn in the final few days, and some stronger clearance sales from Boxing Day onwards failed to make up the shortfall,’ the BRC said in a statement.

The BRC added: ‘Consumers remain cautious, especially about larger purchases: furniture and homewares suffered, clothing and footwear struggled and only food and drink showed some growth, helped by the longer pre-Christmas week.’

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