UK retail sales slumped in December after savvy Christmas shoppers spent their cash on November’s Black Friday bargains
- Retail sales in UK fell in December as shoppers spent money on Black Friday
- Annual sales growth increase from 2% in 2017 to 2.7% this year, ONS stats show
- Amount bought by consumers decreased by 0.2% in three months to December
Retail sales in the UK slumped in December as shopped decided to spend during the Black Friday promotional period in November.
Volume of sales fell by 0.9 per cent on November as all sectors expect food and fuel fell compared to the previous month, the Office for National Statistics said.
Annual sales growth increased from 2 per cent in 2017 to 2.7 per cent this year, though this is considerably less than the post-recession peak of 4.7 per cent in 2016.
Volumes fell by 0.9 per cent on November as all sectors expect food and fuel fell compared to the previous month, the Office for National Statistics said. Pictured: Crowds shopping at the Boxing Day sales in Oxford Street, London
The amount bought by consumers decreased by 0.2 per cent in the three months to December.
Estimates for the amount spent in December were 3.7 per cent higher than the same period in the previous year, while the quantity bought was up 3 per cent.
Online retailing accounted for 20 per cent of total sales, with weekly spending averaging at £1.9 billion during December.
Apart from household goods stores and other non-food, month-on-month growth was seen across all sectors.
Household good sales fell 17.9 per cent after Black Friday promotional offers, which boosted sales of November.
Howard Archer, chief economic adviser at EY ITEM Club, said the drop in December volumes was a ‘disappointment’ for retailers.
Apart from household goods stores and other non-food, month-on-month growth was seen across all sectors. Pictured: Black Friday hits Manchester City Centre
A graphic to show month-on-month growth in the quantity and the amount spent in Decmber compared to November
‘This pointed to Black Friday-related promotions primarily bringing retail purchases forward to November from December rather than lifting sales overall,’ he said.
‘The extended squeeze on purchasing power has encouraged consumers to become more savvy in their Christmas shopping .’
Philipp Gutzwiller, head of retail at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: ‘After nearly two weeks of trading updates, it is no secret that many retailers experienced one of the toughest Christmases in a decade.
‘While there were some winners and losers on the high street, the question now on everyone’s mind is how long before the current challenges around tightened consumer spending and broader uncertainty start to ease?
‘For now, there are enough retailers who either remain creative enough to tempt shoppers to spend a little more, or resilient enough to face into the headwinds.
‘Those who aren’t will be hoping for a turnaround in fortunes or, at the very least, a milder winter than last year and a few green shoots by springtime.’