The high street has missed out on a significant boost to sales as the Christmas period began, compounded by the severe weather in the past week.
Like-for-like sales were up just 0.7% in November, according to new figures from the British Retail Consortium. Total sales were up by 2.8% for the period. Last November, growth stood at 4.1%.
Food sales across the three months to 27 November were up 2.2% on a like-for-like basis, which the BRC said was partly due to food inflation. Like-for-like non-food sales were down 0.5%.
“With the final run-up underway, Christmas performance is delicately poised,” said BRC director general Stephen Robertson.
“Overall, the extreme weather has dramatically undermined sales over the last 10 days. Retailers will be hoping disruption eases so that sales lost early in the month are made up over the next couple of weeks and not lost entirely.”
Online sales in November grew 10 times faster than the equivalent store sales, although online, mail and phone orders represent just 6% of retail sales.
“It’s crucial to remember that this is rapid growth in just one small corner of overall retailing,” Robertson added.
Retailers battle on in big freeze mark two (3 December 2010)