BRC blames discounting and e-books for sales decline

<p>The British Retail Consortium has blamed heavy discounting, strong competition and the rise in popularity of e-books for the decline in book sales in December.</p><p>Sales across the entire retail sector were &quot;stronger than we dared hope&quot;, the consortium said. Like for like sales in December increased by 4.2% compared with last year. Non-food sales grew by 3.8% on a like for like basis. </p><p>The consortium did not trip out a specific book figure. However, according to data from Nielsen<br />BookScan, sales across the four weeks to 26th December period totalled &pound;271.7m, up 67% on the previous four-week period but down 1.1% year on year.</p><p>Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, said: &quot;These are stronger figures than we dared hope for. After a surprisingly muted November, this is the best total sales growth for a December since 2005 and goes well beyond just making up for the sales fall the sector suffered a year ago. The figures were certainly helped by the comparison with last December&#39;s terrible results but customers clearly felt more confident about spending than they have for some time.&quot; <br /> <br />The latest Nielsen book sales figures will be released later today. The BRC said of book performance in December: &quot;Book sales remained down on a year ago, amid strong competition, aggressive discounts for top titles and increasing popularity of e-books and e-readers.&quot;</p>