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Sunday 20th of June 2010
January 22, 2010    

UK December retail sales fall short of expectations

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by Kay Murchie
”UK

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has today revealed a disappointing performance for the High Street for the month of December.

Official figures showed that UK retail sales rose by just 0.3% in December compared with the previous month.

On an annual basis, sales were up 2.1% but both monthly and annual figures were lower than analysts had expected.

The annual figure represented the lowest since December 1998 and will undoubtedly cause concern for the recovery of the UK economy.

The economy, which has now contracted for six consecutive quarters, has been lagging behind other economies and is now the last major economy that is still in recession.

Official figures on 26 January will confirm whether the economy saw positive growth in the fourth quarter

In the meantime, returning to today’s figures, November’s figures were revised upwards to show an increase of 3.1% on the year from an originally estimated 2.7% annual gain.

However, despite the disappointing figures, supermarkets Morrisons, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Co-op all reported strong Christmas trading results.

Furthermore, Peacocks, Poundland, Co-op, M&S, Next, John Lewis, Primark, Matalan and House of Fraser also reported a strong festive season.

In stark contrast to today’s figures, the British Retail Consortium said UK like-for-like retail sales grew 4.2% by value during December and the UK High Street experienced the strongest December for eight years.

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