Retail sales soar in London in December

| January 18, 2010 | 0 Comments

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said shops in Central London enjoyed their best December since records began in 2002, with sales up 12% on year.

The report came just a week after the BRC reported that Britain experienced an annual 4.2% rise in sales during December.

Both sets of figures will boost hopes that the UK economy will have emerged from recession in the fourth quarter.

Commenting on London’s figures, Stephen Robertson, director-general of the BRC, said: “This is a dazzling performance, London’s best December sales growth since this survey began in 2002, and all the more impressive following a strong November.

“The result is boosted because the comparison is with terrible figures a year ago, when financial turmoil hit London consumers especially hard, but this is outstanding growth by any interpretation,” he added.

Helen Dickinson, head of retail at KPMG, who co-produced the report, added: “December’s results also showed the growing importance of post-Christmas trading, and the ongoing weakness of the pound has certainly continued to attract overseas visitors.”

London’s figures coincided with strong trading figures from major retailers including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Peacocks, Poundland, Co-op, M&S, Next, John Lewis, Primark, Matalan and House of Fraser.

However, despite an excellent festive season for many retailers, the BRC has warned the High Street not to be bullish as a “very tough” 12 months is in store.

Mr Robertson warned that consumer spending may not grow as a result of tax hikes and continuing economic uncertainty.

This was reflected in a report by Verdict Research who said retailers benefited in December from more buying ahead of the VAT rise on 1 January.

Verdict also said December experienced strong sales due to cold weather boosting sales of warm clothing.

Verdict echoed the BRC and said it predicts that 2010 will be “tough” on the High Street.

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