No boost for book sales on the high street

<p>November&#39;s book sales fell &quot;further below year-earlier levels&quot;, despite overall UK retail sales&nbsp; growing 1.8%, according to monthly sales monitor compiled by the British Retail Consortium and KPMG.<br /><br />The decline, which was not stripped out in the report, came as internet non-food sales rose 16.9% on last year, compared with 18% in October. The slower growth rate in November than in October was in line with the slowdown in store sales.<br /><br />Book sales fell further below year-earlier levels, despite widespread offers and some improvement in hardback non-fiction, the companies said. <a href="../news/105814-discounts-fail-to-save-black-november.html" target="_blank" title="http://www.thebookseller.com/news/105814-discounts-fail-to-save-black-no... figures match those reported by Nielsen BookScan (The Boookseller, 4th December), which showed that November was the second worst month of the year for booksellers after February.</a><br /><br />Stephen Robertson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, said: &quot;We would have expected much stronger growth because the comparison is with very poor results in 2008 when November was the second worst performing month of the year. Growth was weaker than a strong October, but it&#39;s not as bad as it seems. A lot of this was down to the sharp fall in food inflation which continues to dampen food retailers&#39; sales. But non-food sales growth improved as the Christmas build-up began.<br /><br />&quot;Consumer confidence is fragile and has taken a turn for the worse. We&#39;re the only major economy still in recession. Uncertainty over jobs and future tax increases and Government spending cuts is making customers more cautious. Retailers are hopeful of a better Christmas than last year&#39;s dire performance, but it&#39;s still all to play for.&quot;</p>