High street sales set to fall further in 2009

<p>High street sales will fall by more than 4% in 2009, the largest drop in more than 40 years, a retail thinktank has claimed. Verdict Research claimed that declining sales would lead to billions wiped off retail profits in 2009.&nbsp; &quot;Excluding internet sales and sales at grocery multiples, retail spending growth on the high street will shrink by over 4%, the largest drop since Verdict&#39;s records began in 1965,&quot; said Neil Saunders, consulting director of Verdict Research. &quot;This slower rate of growth at a time of increasing costs could potentially wipe &pound;3.6bn off the collective profits at leading retailers in 2009.&quot;</p><p>According to Verdict, over the past ten years consumers have consistently spent more than they have earned: income growth has run at an average of 2.4% a year, but has been outstripped by spending growth which has grown by 3.3% a year.</p><p>The news comes as the BBC reports that the British Retail Consortium has claimed that total UK retail sales have fallen in consecutive months for the first time in at least 13 years.</p><p>Sales in November were down 0.4% from a year earlier, said the latest British Retail Consortium-KPMG retail survey. On a like-for-like basis, which removes the impact of new store openings and closures, the survey found that sales in November were down 2.6%.</p><p>This was the sixth month in a row to see like-for-like sales decline. However, total sales were up 2% in November when the figures are measured on a 12-month moving average. &quot;There is little doubt that Christmas will arrive late for many retailers, leaving them with a very nerve-wracking couple of weeks to come,&quot; said Helen Dickinson, head of retail at KPMG.<br /><br /></p>