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Christmas Bdo Retail

Modest rise of 1.9 per cent recorded in High Street retail sales ahead of Christmas


By Stephen Lepitak, -

January 7, 2013 | 2 min read

High Street sales rose by 1.9 per cent in December 2012 on the previous year in the build-up to Christmas, with online shopping increasing, according to the latest BDO High Street Sales Tracker.

A modest rise in sales were recorded in comparison with the same month last year, while online sales grew by almost a third (30.9 per cent) and high street footfall increased by 22 per cent in comparison with December in the weekend leading up to Christmas.

The report studies like-for-like spending at non-grocery retailers with annual sales of between £5m and £500m.

Despite the overall rise, a drop of 3.7 per cent was recorded in the week ended 16 December, as shoppers left their purchasing to the last minute to take advantage of Christmas sales.

According to Don Williams, national head of retail at BDO, retailers were seen to “slash” prices to a level which affected their profits, in order to avoid being left with too much remaining stock, while retailers continued to be prudent over spending their money.

“This year there has been a clear focus on protecting margins. By building up to Christmas early in a planned and measured way there has been less knee-jerk discounting,” he added.

Last week, the Centre for Retail Research revealed that British households spent £2 billion less than predictedby the Centre, with an overall estimated spend of £70 billion for Christmas 2012.

£3 billion was also spent on Boxing Day sales alones, with internet sales on that day up by a fifth on the same day in 2011, the Centre claimed.

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