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News - 8 December 2009
Did the weather wash away November retail sales?
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has reported a poor performance for the UK High Street in November compared to the same year in 2008 when the country was in the depths of a financial crisis.
Like-for-like sales grew 1.8% compared with the same month last year; much lower than the 3.8% gain seen in October. The BRC suggested that a "sharp fall" in food inflation contributed to the weaker growth but the appalling weather across much of the country, including Brighton & Hove, can’t have helped apart from increasing the sale of umbrellas. On the plus side growth in non-food items showed a 3.3% increase as consumers started Christmas shopping in earnest.
Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC said: "Consumer confidence is fragile and has taken a turn for the worse. We'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's dire performance, but it's still all to play for."
To make matters worse figures from research group Experian showed that shopper numbers over the weekend of 5-6 December were down 4.8% on last year.
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