Christmas like-for-like sales up 0.3%
Retail sales in December were Â“underwhelmingÂ”, the British Retail Consortium said as its monthly retail sales monitor showed that sales rose 0.3% on a like-for-like basis in the month. On a total basis, sales were up 1.5%.
Online sales put in the strongest performance, rising by 17.8% which was the fastest growth since December 2011.
After a sluggish start to the month, there was a last minute boost in the final few days leading up to Christmas as many shoppers made the most of a full shopping weekend before the big day. However, the BRC said that December footfall was "disappointingly low" as people made fewer shopping trips, preferring to buy everything in one go.
Commenting on the figures, BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: "This rather underwhelming result brings a year of minimal sales growth to a close. Retailers will be hoping that a continuing boost from post-Christmas sales events strengthens January's figures but, unfortunately, there are few signs that their sense of ‘running fast to stand still' is likely to ease off any time soon."
The BRC warned that trading conditions are likely to remain difficult in 2013. David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, added: "A flat end to a flat year is perhaps the best way to describe the Christmas trading for 2012.
"January will be a tough month for retailers as consumers face up to their credit card bills after Christmas and it's likely 2013 will bring more of the same challenges.
"While consumer confidence remains low, shoppers will tighten their belts and rein in their spending, making life difficult for the average UK retailer. There will be no boom and it's likely more than a few will go bust."
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