The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has reported that shoppers are keeping a "tight rein" on their spending with just three weeks to go until Christmas. Its retail sales monitor found that overall retail sales only grew 0.7% in November, which was the weakest growth for six months and on a like-for-like basis they fell 1.6%.
Whereas disastrous weather ruined Christmas trade last year with snow and rain wiping out three of the four weekends before Christmas Eve, the opposite is true this year with unusually mild weather being blamed for falling sales of winter clothing and footwear.
Sales of non-food items over the internet, mail order and telephone increased compared with the same month last year but at the comparatively weak rate of 8.6%.
Food sales growth in November was little changed from October's five-month low, although there was some demand for premium lines and ready meals as consumers "traded down from dining out".
Howard Archer at IHS Global Insight said, "Given consumer spending's key role, the BRC survey fuels concern that the economy is headed back towards recession," said "Consumers are deeply worried about both the domestic and the global economic outlook, while the weak housing market also has adverse repercussions for consumer spending."
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