LONDON: British retail sales fell in December as consumers held onto their cash after snapping up discounted Christmas gifts the previous month, official data showed Friday.
Total sales slid 0.9 percent compared to November, the Office for National Statistics calculated, with all sectors except food and fuel in decline, reports AFP.That was slightly worse than analysts' consensus forecast for a 0.8-percent drop.
Sales had rebounded 1.3 percent in November as shoppers brought forward Christmas spending to bag Black Friday bargains.
"Disappointment for retailers as sales volumes fell back markedly in December after November's spike," noted EY analyst Howard Archer.
"This pointed to Black Friday-related promotions primarily bringing retail purchases forward to November from December rather than lifting sales overall."
Recent data from the GfK institute showed that consumer confidence in Britain fell to its lowest level in five years in December, as the purchasing power of wages was eroded by Brexit-fuelled inflation.