Festive sales were rubbish, basically

The UK high street is somewhat beleaguered and Christmas didn't really help, as businesses hoped. Once you take away online sales, stores sold were still selling next to nothing, which is the first time this has happened since 2008. Retail analysts described this as "a flat end to a flat year".

While total sales were up slightly, once online shopping was taken out of the equation, physical sales "turned negative" according to the British Retail Consortium.

Helen Dickinson, the incoming director general of the BRC, a group that looks at 80% of retailers, said: "Against the relentlessly tough economic backdrop and low expectations, these results are not a cause for celebration, but not a disaster either. Total growth for December hasn't beaten inflation and is only on a par with December 2010, when severe weather put sales volumes on ice for much of the month."

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KMPG, said: "A flat end to a flat year is perhaps the best way to describe the Christmas trading for 2012. Despite mild, albeit wet, weather for the whole of the last quarter and an extra full weekend immediately prior to Christmas, the final quarter saw total sales rise only 1.5% on the previous year and like-for-likes rise by only 0.2% – both rises lower than inflation.

"January will be a tough month for retailers as consumers face up to their credit card bills after Christmas, and it's likely 2013 will bring more of the same challenges. There will be no boom and it is likely more than a few will go bust."

We could well be doing a piece called DEATHWATCH: The High Street, if this continues.


  • Kevin
    Nothing to do with the fact that a lot of the products were overpriced to start with? I saw virtually nothing that was worth buying for myself or others even in the sales. We need good stuff!
  • Model o.
    Well, I run a shop that usually does well at this time of year I can confirm that Christmas was officially shit. and the week between xmas and new year (Usually busiest of the year) was 50% down on 2011. People don't have the money to spend anymore
  • Noshit S.
    ^ Model Shop Owner Nail firmly hit on the head. Both my partner and I have good jobs, with average pay, yet really cant afford to be splashing out unnecessarily. Unless its a necessity, then keep what little money for when something is definitely required.
  • shiftynifty
    Posted by Kevin • January 8, 2013 at 2:13 pm Nothing to do with the fact that a lot of the products were overpriced to start with? I saw virtually nothing that was worth buying for myself or others even in the sales. We need good stuff! No ...we need help....
  • Dick
    Why remove online shopping? It is still shopping. Often from the same companies that you would have bought from if it was not possible to do online. I've spent over £5000 on toys in the last three months of the year. Mainly lego. Mainly for later resale. Teso, ASDA, TRU, Argos have had so many decent sales recently - 3 for 2s, pricing errors that meant you got £50 RRP for £10, etc. Part of the reason I didn't buy in the Christmas-New Year sales were that they were shit compared to offers earlier in the year. If companies put prices up in the "sales" compared to what they were earlier in the year, then their revenue will go down. No matter how much you dress it up as a sale, if the price is shit, people won't buy.
  • Mick T.
    I've been watching the prices of a certain TV in various stores and online for a couple of months before Christmas, I finally bought the TV after Christmas as the old one finally bit the dust and although listed as £50 cheaper in the 'sale' it was only £50 cheaper because the 5yr warranty (costing £50 and previously included with the TV) had been removed from the offer and now had to be bought seperately. A similar story with HDD's that I had to buy, in fact the price went up on them in a particular retailers sale compared to the month before. Without genuine reductions on things we want to buy (not the crap the retailers can't shift from the warehouse) then consumers aren't going to spend, they are being a lot more choosy about spending their hard earned these days.
  • Sicknote
    Sales were complete shit and even Amazon's offerings were pulled from the skip out back; still, I made to this side of the festive season without a penny on my credit card and only owing a little on the mortgage.
  • Caramel
    When are people going to learn? Christmas is one big con with the January sales being even a bigger one. The days you could pick up a TV for thrupence in the sales are over. Unless you really need it? Does the old one still work? Can you afford it? Then you know what? Shut your wallet, unless its Bitterwallet!!!

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