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.