November retail sales weakest since May
Retailers saw the biggest fall in like-for-like sales for six months according to figures released by the British Retail Consortium.
The BRC Retail Sales Monitor survey revealed that the value of retail sales fell 1.6% from a year earlier.
Total sales grew by 0.7% compared to a 2.8% rise in November 2010, as the mild weather deterred consumers from going shopping and stores resorted to high levels of discounting to generate sales.
Online sales were also hit with sales rising 8.6% in the month, the slowest rate since March and less than half of the 17.6% increase seen in November 2010.
Stephen Robertson, the director general of the BRC, said: "Internet retailers are offering high-profile discounts and holding special one-day events ahead of Christmas in much the same way as high street traders, hoping to generate an uplift in spending."
The BRC said sales of winter clothing had been hit by the unseasonally mild weather while sales of health and beauty products saw their first year-on-year fall for two years.
Helen Dickinson, head of retail at KPMG, said: "These latest figures prove once more that the health of the UK retailing sector is definitely deteriorating.
"December will require some tough decisions for a number of retailers as they struggle to plot a path in such callenging conditions."
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