Shops suffer worst Christmas since the financial crisis a decade ago


LAST year was the worst Christmas for retailers since the financial crisis in 2008, new figures have revealed.

Many shops cut prices in December to lure shoppers through its doors and to its websites, yet sales dropped by 0.7 per cent in 2018 compared to the previous year.

 2018 was the worst Christmas for shops since the financial crisis a decade ago

Getty – Contributor

2018 was the worst Christmas for shops since the financial crisis a decade ago

In December 2017, total retail sales had risen by 1.4 per cent year on year, the report by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG retail sales monitor said.

Retailers such as Tesco, Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, B&M and car and cycling chain Halfords reported financial results today, and they all saw falling sales over the Christmas period apart from Tesco.

M&S saw clothing and home sales fall by 4.8 per cent, while Halfords sales dropped 1.7 per cent after warm weather hit its sales.

Debenhams and B&M also suffered from falling sales, with the chains reporting drops of 3.4 per cent and 1.6 per cent, respectively.

Meanwhile, Tesco reported its best Christmas results in a decade with a 2.2 per cent rise in UK like-for-like sales.

Today it was also revealed that John Lewis staff could lose out on their annual bonus for the first time since 1953, despite sales being up over the Christmas shopping period.

 Department store chain Debenhams suffered falling sales over the Christmas period

Getty – Contributor

Department store chain Debenhams suffered falling sales over the Christmas period

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of BRC, said: “Squeezed consumers chose not to splash out this Christmas, with retail sales growth stalling for the first time in 28 months.

“The worst December sales performance in 10 years means a challenging start to 2019 for retailers, with business rates set to rise once again this year, and the threat of a no-deal Brexit looming ever larger.”

READ  Nissan cuts 12,500 jobs globally as car manufacturer struggles to boost profits

She said the retail landscape is “changing dramatically” in the UK, while the trading environment remains tough.

“Retailers are facing up to this challenge but are having to wrestle with mounting costs from a succession of government policies – from the apprenticeship levy, to higher wage costs, to rising business rates,” she continued.

Meanwhile, Paul Martin, UK head of retail at KPMG, commented: “Retailers experienced little festive cheer this year, with total sales in December delivering zero growth on last year.

“This comes despite some retailers desperately attempting to generate sales through slashed pricing, which has seemingly not been enough to encourage shoppers.”

 Consumers spent less money in December, it has been revealed

Getty – Contributor

Consumers spent less money in December, it has been revealed

“Growth in food did provide a glimmer of hope, being among the few categories to notice an uptick,” Martin continued.

“However, the continued contrast in performance between the high street and online remained evident in December – albeit 2018 did also see a continued slowdown in online retail sales.”

Meanwhile, a separate report from Barclaycard said consumer spending grew 1.8 per cent year on year in December, the lowest rate of growth seen since March 2016.

Data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the UK’s credit and debit card transactions, showed that essential spending growth dipped to just 0.6 per cent – the lowest figure recorded since July 2016 – caused by a drop in supermarket spending.

Esme Harwood, director at Barclaycard, said: “Growth in consumer spending dropped to its lowest level since 2016 and represents a decline in real terms.”

She said consumers “remain cautious amidst ongoing economic uncertainty”.

More high street job cuts are on the horizon for this year as brutal conditions saw 150,000 lost in 2018.

In fact, over 25,000 high street jobs are at risk due to looming £730million business rate hike.

But empty shops could be turned into homes to help solve the housing crisis, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in October’s Budget.

Chancellor Philip Hammond says like Amazon face higher taxes to help struggling high streets


We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Money team? Email us at money@the-sun.co.uk or call 0207 78 24516. Don’t forget to join the Sun Money’s Facebook group for the latest bargains and money-saving advice.






READ SOURCE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here