Low consumer confidence resulted in lower spending during Xmas as total UK retail sales nudged up just 1.7% in December compared to nearly 7% the year before.
Post-Christmas Sales failed to encourage spending in areas like homewares and furniture, as shoppers held back on making bigger purchases.
However, sales experienced a slight rise during the week leading up to Christmas, as shoppers bought last-minute presents, particularly online, as a result of wet weather.
Customers favoured beauty, health and personal care, toys and gaming gifts over jewellery, clothes and technology.
Overall retail revenues for the year increased by 3.6% compared to the year prior.
Food sales were up 6.8% during the three months to December, while non-food revenues dipped 1.5%.
Retailers had a disappointing Christmas period following a difficult year of sluggish sales growth, the British Retail Consortium (BRC)-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor revealed.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said:
“The festive period failed to make amends for a challenging year of sluggish retail sales growth, as weak consumer confidence continued to hold back spending.2024 looks to be another challenging year for retailers and their customers, and spending will continue to be constrained by high living costs. Retailers will also have to juggle various cost pressures, including the rise to business rates this April.”
Disruption to shipments from the Far East via the Red Sea will further enhance the challenges.