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CHALLENGING CHRISTMAS CONFIRMED BY RETAIL FIGURES
January 18, 2013

Helen Dickinson
Director General, BRC
Official retail figures, released today (Friday) by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), confirm that December was a tough month for customers and retailers.

Excluding fuel, the ONS numbers show the total value of sales (not seasonally adjusted) was up 1.8 per cent in December compared with a year ago. In November the growth rate was 2.5 per cent. This is a broadly similar trend to the BRC's own figures, released last week.

British Retail Consortium Director General, Helen Dickinson, said: "This confirms our own findings that it was a cautious Christmas for many of us. With many household budgets still feeling the squeeze and no signs of economic challenges receding any time soon, this led to a respectable rather than spectacular result during the most crucial trading period of the year.

"As with our own figures, the internet was the standout performer – our own figures would have shown subzero growth in non-food sales if it hadn't been for online's significant year on year rise.

"Even food, usually dependable at this time of year, showed a slowdown in growth. This suggests that relentlessly tough times led many to ‘trade down' to cheaper and own-label brands, but also that many economised so that they had more money to spend treating family and friends with nice presents."

Media Contacts: BRC Press Office 020 7854 8920 / 07921 605544
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