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Black Friday hits December retail sales

Retail sales edged up 1% on a total basis last month to mark the slowest December growth since 2008.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Black Friday hits December retail sales

Retail sales edged up 1% on a total basis last month to mark the slowest December growth since 2008.

Figures published in the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor show that like-for-like sales declined by 0.4% as Black Friday pulled forward some festive sales into November.

However, total food sales grew for the first time since April although they declined by 0.3% over the last three months.

Non-food sales increased by 2.9% over the three months as trade was boosted by cyber-week and the end-of-season sales, particularly fashion.

David McCorquodale, head of retail, KPMG, said: "Extensive discounting disrupted the timing and rhythm of Christmas spending. Between Black Friday and Boxing Day, retailers and consumers engaged in a three-week dance, each waiting for the other to take the lead, and as a result sales suffered."

He added: "It's now clear Black Friday did pull festive sales forward into November, and this created a challenging lull in spending with consumers waiting for future bargains. This situation did not reverse until the week of Christmas. The launch of Boxing Day sales mixed with new season full-price stock saw some phenomenal spending, with fashion retailers achieving double-digit percentage growth."

Online sales of non-food products grew by 7% in December compared to a year earlier, when they had climbed by 19.2%. The non-food online penetration rate was 17%, up from 16% in December 2013.

 

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