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UK Retail Sales Growth Declines in December

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Retail sales growth in the U.K. witnessed a decline during the crucial trading period of December, as consumers remained cautious about their spending due to the high living costs. The latest data published by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) reveals that total retail sales for the five weeks leading up to December 30th increased by 1.7% compared to the previous month, which saw a growth of 2.7%. However, this figure falls below both the three-month average of 2.3% growth and the 6.9% growth recorded in December of the previous year.

Food Sales Remain Strong, Non-Food Sales Decrease

The main driving force behind retail sales growth continues to be food sales, with an impressive increase of 6.8% over the three-month period leading up to November. On the other hand, non-food sales experienced a decline of 1.5%.

Overall Retail Sales Performance for 2023

In terms of overall retail sales performance for 2023, there was a 3.6% increase from the levels seen in 2022. Food sales achieved significant growth of 8.1%, while non-food sales saw a slight decline of 0.1%.

Challenging Year for Retail Sales

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the BRC, expressed her disappointment, stating that the festive period failed to make up for a challenging year of sluggish retail sales growth. Weak consumer confidence continued to restrain spending, and even the post-Christmas sales were unsuccessful in encouraging purchases in areas such as furniture and homeware. Households remained cautious about making larger purchases.

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