BRC reports high street book sales decline

<p>Struggling non-fiction bestsellers and strong competition between supermarkets and specialist bookshops have caused a decline in book sales, according to the British Retail Consortium.</p><p>In its February sales figures, the BRC reported total UK retail sales were up 2.2% on a like for like basis on February 2009, when heavy snowfall was blamed for a yearly sales decline of 1.8%. Sales increased 4.5% on a total basis, compared with 0.1% yearly growth in February 2009.</p><p>Stephen Robertson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, said: &quot;Despite appearances, these results are not that strong. The growth is compared with very weak figures a year ago when February saw the worst of last winter&#39;s weather and this February&#39;s performance was helped by sales postponed from January &ndash; particularly sales of non-food items such as homewares and fashion.</p>&quot;Consumer confidence is certainly up on this time last year but, with unemployment rising again, spending plans are falling. When the weather-related distortions are stripped away, it&#39;s clear customers are still cautious.&quot; <br /><p>Although the BRC does not strip out book sales, its report said: &quot;Book sales remained down on a year ago, amid strong competition between supermarkets and specialists. Non-fiction bestsellers struggled, with fewer top titles this year.&quot;</p><p>According to figures from Nielsen BookScan, the book market is 6.6% down year on year in the nine weeks to 27th February, with only &pound;249.4m going through the tills.</p>