‘Worst Christmas in a decade’

Christmas: sad Santa

UK retail businesses experienced “their worst Christmas in a decade”, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Total retail sales showed zero year-on-year growth in December, the worst December performance since 2008, despite a swathe of promotions and deals. On a like-for-like basis, retail sales actually fell by 0.7% from December 2017.

BRC Chief Executive Helen Dickinson said: “Squeezed consumers chose not to splash out this Christmas, with retail sales growth stalling for the first time in 28 months. The worst December sales performance in 10 years means a challenging start to 2019 for retailers, with business rates set to rise once again this year, and the threat of a no-deal Brexit looming.”

Dickinson said the trading environment remained tough and that “retailers are facing up to this challenge, but are having to wrestle with mounting costs from a succession of government policies – from the apprenticeship levy, to higher wage costs, to rising business rates.”

Food sales was the one area of retail that showed some very minor glimmers of hope.

Take control of your forecourt