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Poor retail sales leaves Christmas all to play for

Poor retail sales leaves Christmas all to play for

Category: Money

Updated: 08/12/2009
First Published: 08/12/2009

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This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Christmas is all still to play for, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said, following figures that showed sales on the High Street were disappointing in November.

Retail sales in the UK rose by 1.8 per cent in November, compared with the same month a year ago. However, sales had fallen by 2.6 per cent in November 2008, as a result of rock bottom consumer confidence during the depth of the economic crisis.

The figures are all the more disappointing as they follow the 3.8 per cent gain that was seen during October – the most marked increase for the month seen since 2002.

"We would have expected much stronger growth because the comparison is with a very poor 2008 when November was the worst performing month of the year," the BRC's director general, Stephen Robertson, admitted.

"Consumer confidence is fragile and has taken a turn for the worse. We're the only major economy still in recession. Uncertainty over jobs, future tax increases and Government spending cuts is making customers more cautious." Mr. Robertson said that a sharp decline in food inflation played a part in the disappointing results, while mild weather adversely affected clothing sales, meaning the figures are not as bad as they appear.

"Retailers are hopeful of a better Christmas than last year's dire performance, but it's still all to play for," he added.

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