Retail sales growth "worst for 6 months"

Retail sales growth "worst for 6 months"

The British Retail Consortium has labelled November sales growth "the worst for six months" as general sales figures show customers have not yet started spending properly for Christmas.

Today’s figures reveal sales were up 0.7% in November against a 2.8% increase in November last year. The organisation said the sales performance was "the weakest since May" and added: "Print book sales, especially paperback fiction, remained very tough and well down on a year ago, hit by consumer caution and the growth in e-books." However the BRC noted that e-readers remained "popular" with customers.

Internet, mail-order and phone retail sales of non-food products grew by 8.6% up on a year ago, but showed the weakest growth since March.

Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, said: "There’s a worrying lack of cheer in these figures. The weakest increase in sales for six months suggests consumers are keeping a tight rein on their spending, despite Christmas being so near."

He added: "Consumers are not quite in the Christmas mindset yet, although stores are working to generate much-needed sales with high levels of festive discounting. Retailers hope that customers who’ve managed their finances carefully in recent months will still treat themselves and their families in December, unhampered by the severe weather which disrupted shopping 12 months ago."