Markets / DATA & RESEARCH / Jan.10
Big-ticket sales remain tough
Same-store retail sales climbed 2.2 per cent in December, but the British Retail Consortium warned that big-ticket items and furniture sales remained down on a year ago.
In its monthly BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, the lobby group said total sales had risen by 4.1 per cent including new store space, but cautioned that last year's December numbers were affected by snowfall.
It also said this year's figures were boosted by a strong final week ahead of Christmas, including the bonus of Christmas Eve falling on a Saturday.
Stephen Robertson, BRC director general, said: "A better than hoped-for December closed a relentlessly tough year for retailers, but these figures hinged on a dazzling last pre-Christmas week and were boosted by some major one-off factors. We’re not witnessing any fundamental change in customers' circumstances.
“Discounting was deeper and started earlier and the vital Saturday Christmas-Eve added another big trading day to the final run-up. Post-Christmas offers brought large numbers of shoppers out but that was generally a short-lived hunt for bargains. With discounting driving sales at the expense of margins the key question for retailers is about earnings from those sales."