This December UK retail sales were up only 0.3 per cent like-for-like, versus a 2.2 per cent like-for-like growth in December 2011. Total sales went up by 1.5 per cent against a 4.1 per cent rise in December last year.
Online shopping continued its rapid growth with a 17.8 per cent increase in sales over Christmas.
In terms of toys, the BRC said that 'toys didn't have the best Christmas ever' as traditional toys suffered at the hands of electronic items, particularly tablets.
According to NPD sales of toys between January and the middle of November had been down by two per cent on 2011's figures and December continued the trend.
Helen Dickinson, director general, British Retail Consortium, said: “Against the relentlessly tough economic backdrop and low expectations, these results are not a cause for celebration, but not a disaster either. Total growth for December hasn’t beaten inflation and is only on a par with December 2010, when severe weather put sales volumes on ice for much of the month. Online was the stand-out performer, showing its highest rate of growth this year. Shoppers are increasingly taking advantage of the convenience that online shopping offers at every stage of the customer journey, from comparing prices to reserving and collecting in-store.
“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.”
David McCorquodale, head of retail, KPMG, said: “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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