Christmas sales fall

“Worst December in 10 years” says BRC

After a mixed set of results from retailers with sales up at Next but down at M&S, the authoritative Retail Sales Monitor from the BRC and KPMG has concluded that Christmas 2018 was the worst for a decade.Overall retail sales were flat but on a like-for-like basis they were down 0.7% year-on-year.

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 ten 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 ever larger.”

Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG added: “The first months of 2019 will unlikely hold much improvement. As many retailers report their festive trading performance, the list of winners and losers will become clear, but winning means more than just improving sales. Retailers have to protect their margins in order to deliver a profitable festive season.”

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