Retailers squeezed an extra 1 per cent out of consumers in December compared to last year, according to the trade body representing the largest UK firms.

The British Retail Consortium’s monthly Retail Sales Monitor said the uplift was the slowest total December growth figure since 2008.

However, it added that adjusted for its own Shop Price Index, total growth was 2.6 per cent, which matched last year’s level and was the highest since December 2013.

Like-for-like store sales were down 0.4 per cent, BRC added.

David McCorquodale, head of retail at survey sponsor KPMG, said: "Extensive discounting disrupted the timing and rhythm of Christmas spending. Between Black Friday and Boxing Day retailers and consumers engaged in a three week dance, each waiting for the other to take the lead and as a result sales suffered.”