Belfast Telegraph

Shops struggle during slow festive period as sales fall

By Graeme Evans

Retailers have suffered their slowest December growth in six years after Black Friday spending disrupted the "timing and rhythm" of Christmas sales.

Like-for-like sales fell 0.4% in the month and were just 1% higher on a total basis when including changes in store space, according to the latest sales monitor produced by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG.

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG, said the Black Friday shopping spree pulled festive sales forward into November and created a challenging lull in spending as consumers waited for future bargains.

He added: "Between Black Friday and Boxing Day retailers and consumers engaged in a 'three-week dance', each waiting for the other to take the lead, and as a result sales suffered."

The BRC said the 1% total sales rise compared with an improvement of 1.8% a year earlier, marking the slowest December growth since 2008.

However, the total sales figure grew by 2.6% - the same as December 2013 - when adjusted for price deflation.

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