Verdict Research has produced a report that suggests the widely reported success of the UK retail sector over the Christmas period may not be as realistic as the raw figures, showing the biggest rise in December trading for eight years, suggest.
The report points out that retailers had benefited from £14bn of extra trade from those businesses that went bankrupt in the latter part of the year e.g. Woolworths, Bay Trading, Rosebys, Zavvi, and Principles.
The report also said that retailers had benefited from people bringing forward purchases to avoid the increase in VAT on January 1st.
There might also be other one-off factors behind December's strong retail showing including the cold weather boosting sales of warm clothing, food price inflation lifting the results of the supermarkets and less discounting and early cut-price sales meaning consumers had to pay more.
Verdict predicts that 2010 will be "tough" on the High Street predicting that consumer spending will only grow 1.1% this year, the second lowest rate of growth since records began in 1966.
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