UK retail is in the grip of a slowdown as consumers tighten their budgets, figures from the National Office of Statistics have confirmed today.
According to the official figures, total sales volume for the three month leading up to the end of December was 3.6 per cent higher than at the same time in 2006 – meaning that the run up to Christmas 2007 was the slowest period of growth for more than a year.
Sales at non-food retailers for the three months leading up to Christmas rose 4.4 per cent, the smallest period of growth in the sector since February 1999. Sales volumes at non-specialists fell by 4.3 per cent – the largest fall in the sector since February 1994.
Total year sales at non-food stores stalled, according to the ONS, while those at household goods retailers fell 2.1 per cent – the largest fall for this sector since March 2006.