Retail Sales: Disappointing Figures In December
Retailers have failed to get the Christmas boost they were hoping for, as sales volumes in December fell.
Retail sales excluding fuel slipped by 0.3% when compared with November, official figures showed.
Volumes were just 1.1% higher than in December 2011, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which seasonably adjusts the figures.
Both non-food and food sales were weak, the ONS said, but more consumers bought products on the internet.
Household goods, including electrical appliances, furniture, and DVDs, showed the steepest monthly fall with a decline of 3% - the biggest since January 2010.
Food sales fell 0.3% as a hike in the cost of a supermarket shop hit customer's pockets.
But the trend towards online shopping continued, with over 10% of all purchases in December being made over the internet†- a month-on-month rise of 1.6%.
And the average weekly spend online over the month was over £830m†- 15.5% higher than December 2011.
Newedge Strategy analyst Annalisa Piazza said that most analysts had expected a slight monthly increase in December.
"Both food and non-food store sales were weak in December, showing a wide-spread cautious approach in last year's Christmas shopping," she said.
"All in all, today's lower-than-expected outcome for UK retail sales casts some doubts on the performance of GDP in the fourth quarter - data out next week."
Philip Shaw, an economist with Investec, added: "The high street seems to have stalled again over the past few months.
"Recovery prospects will depend strongly on a pick-up in consumer activity over the first few months of 2013."
The pound fell to an 8-week low against the US dollar after the data was released.†
Christmas was a testing time for many struggling high street stalwarts, and not all survived.
Since the start of the New Year, three major†retailers have called in administrators - camera chain Jessops, entertainment retailer HMV and DVD rentals company Blockbuster.
But Dixons, which owns Currys and PC World, and Argos said strong online sales helped boost their performance over the festive period.†
what do you think?
Vat and tax we pay way to much plus fuel and parking to get to town centres its to expensive.
20% vat is crippling people, everyway we turn we face more taxes so depleating our disposable income and they wonder why sales are dropping.
VAT receipts have fallen as a result of the increase to 20% but the Government is actually trying to blame organised criminals!!!! Why can't politicians just admit when they get it wrong and put it right instead of trying to lie to us. WE AREN'T STUPID!
I should have made clear the organised criminals in question are not the politicians - but that's open to debate.
I wonder the experts have worked out that the reason maybe we are strapped for money and prices are going through the roof. This will be no shock to us bloggers but the politicians and analysts might have problems with it so I am typing this slowly. :-0
The price of oil and gas The collapse of the banking system The war in the middle east Lack of industries Balance of payments, far more imports then exports. The end is near my Friends
You can always get a Mc Horse Burger. Very cheap.
I never understand how they expect retail sales to keep rising, its illogical
Sunshine. It was much the same with house prices and we all know what happened there. Sooner or later there had to be a correction
Maybe if their profit margins weren't so high they'd sell more better selling 200 items at 20% profit as 2'at 50%