December retail sales up 4.1%

Print book sales have “remained tough”, hit by consumer caution and growing e-book sales, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said, but overall retail revenues were up by 4.1% in December.

The increase compares favourably to last year’s 1.5% increase in December 2010, when shoppers were hampered by heavy snow and it was the best sales performance since January 2011, the BRC said today (10th January).

Paperback fiction remained the hardest hit of printed books genres the BRC said, with celebrity cookbooks and biographies popular and Jamie’s Great Britain becoming a top seller.

Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, said the December retail sales hike was down to a “dazzling last pre-Christmas week” and warned it did not reflect a fundamental change in customers’ circumstances.

He said: “A solid December result hasn't rescued a pretty miserable year. Whole-year figures show minimal growth in 2011. For many customers, economic reality has bitten again since the New Year and, with consumer confidence returning to levels last seen during the recession, 2012 is expected to be an equally challenging year."