BRC – retail sales worst on record

According to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) chief executive, Christmas retail sales were the ‘worst year on record’ in the UK.

Compared to November and December 2018, retail sales were down 0.9% in 2019.

BRC CEO Helen Dickinson said that the CVAs, shop closures and job losses on the nation’s High Streets reflected the poor performance across the board.

Dickinson also said the political instability of recent months and the prospect of a no-deal Brexit have impacted retail sales.

“Black Friday overtook Christmas as the biggest shopping week of the year for non-food items,” she said. “Retailers also faced challenges as consumers became both more cautious and more conscientious as they went about their Christmas shopping.”

Confidence in the UK government’s trade negotiations will have a big impact on spending in the coming year.

“There are many ongoing challenges for retailers: to drive up productivity, continue to raise wages, improve recyclability of products and cut waste.

“However, this takes resources, so it is essential the new government makes good on its promise to review, and then reform the broken business rates system which sees retail pay 25% of all business rates, while accounting for 5% of the economy.”

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