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'Stronger figures than we dared hope for' show 4.2 per cent like-for-like growth

December shows strongest retail growth for four years

The UK retail sector saw a 4.2 per cent sales value hike in December, compared to the same period in 2008, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium.

The Non-food non-store sector enjoyed the biggest growth, as sales during the period jumped 26.5 per cent – partly due to the snow affecting the latter half of the month.

The figures have been celebrated as evidence of consumer confidence over the Christmas period, but the BRC noted that this may simply be a temporary respite, and that December 2008’s sales figures were comparitively low.

"These are stronger figures than we dared hope for. After a surprisingly muted November, this is the best total sales growth for a December since 2005 and goes well beyond just making up for the sales fall the sector suffered a year ago," said Stephen Robertson, Director General, British Retail Consortium.

"The figures were certainly helped by the comparison with last December’s terrible results but customers clearly felt more confident about spending than they have for some time. Sales growth was also helped by the VAT cut dropping out of the 12-month comparison, December being the first and only month where the 15 per cent rate is the same as a year earlier.”

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