Festive sales 'at three-year low'

UK retailers had their worst Christmas in three years, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has said.

Like-for-like sales across the sector - which exclude new store openings - increased by just 0.3% last month from a year earlier, the trade body said.

While overall sales advanced 2.5%, the BRC said it remained the worst December on the High Street since 2004.

Calling for further interest rate cuts, the BRC said the figures pointed "to a very challenging first-half of 2008".

And it warned that if the base rate was not trimmed, like-for-like sales could actually fall in 2008 for the first time in three years.

The Bank of England last cut interest rates in December to 5.5% from 5.75%, amid signs economic growth is slowing against a backdrop of higher energy bills, weakness in the housing market, and the credit squeeze.

Despite this reduction, BRC director general Kevin Hawkins said an additional half-point reduction to 5% was "preferable" for households, retailers and manufacturers.

Its survey, conducted with accountancy group KPMG, found that while sales of food and drink grew in December, those of clothing and footwear fell for a third consecutive month.

And in another key Christmas retail sector, electrical goods, the survey found a mixed picture for sellers, with sales growth "often promotion-driven".

"This study sets the scene for the new year ahead and like-for-like sales look set to move into negative territory as they did in 2005," said KPMG's head of retail, Helen Dickinson.

The findings come as the UK's largest retailers are continuing to report mixed Christmas trading figures.

While Currys and PC World owner DSG International and Land of Leather have been forced to issue profit warnings after weak festive sales, department stores House of Fraser and John Lewis have both reported a bumper Christmas.

Clothing retailer Next also said it had a tough December, while supermarket Waitrose managed to increase its overall sales by a 28.5%.

Analysts are now awaiting Christmas trading figures from Marks & Spencer on Wednesday and Sainsbury's on Thursday, with some speculation that both could disappoint. ( BBC )

Kyrgyzstan increases car imports from Turkey
Kyrgyzstan increases car imports from Turkey
Kazakhstan evacuates its citizens from Kyrgyzstan amid coronavirus outbreak
Kazakhstan evacuates its citizens from Kyrgyzstan amid coronavirus outbreak
Kyrgyzstan declares state of emergency as 14 COVID-19 cases confirmed
Kyrgyzstan declares state of emergency as 14 COVID-19 cases confirmed
Loading Bars
Latest
Forecast growth in new solar, wind plants to be wiped out for 2020
Exports of products up in Iran's Isfahan province
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Georgia through its ports
Oil price slump could lead to flow of capital towards renewable energy
Production shut-ins amid lower oil prices may be substantial this time
Azerbaijani company begins production of pure alcohol
Gross external debt of Georgia increases
International Investment Position of Georgia down
Iranian currency rates for March 28
Azerbaijan's parliament discloses MPs' coronavirus test results
Iran announces number of wells drilled in oil, gas sector
Azerbaijan’s Salyan District Executive Power announces tender for repair services
Azerbaijan’s Salyan District Executive Power announces tender
Anglo Asian Mining continuing with gold production in Azerbaijan
Iran's president urges for proper implementation of social distancing plan
WB provides additional support to improving efficiency and innovation in Azerbaijan’s judicial system
Outlook for oil market remains bleak in near-term
Kazakhstan increasing furniture, wood imports from Turkey
Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 21 times
Coronavirus significantly affects real estate market of Georgia
Iran develops medkits for coronavirus testing
Iran hopes to curb and even eliminate coronavirus spread in upcoming weeks
Iran's housing sales drop due to coronavirus outbreak
Georgian Poti port receives permission for expansion
Georgian TPP receives electricity generating license
Galt & Taggart Investment Bank forecasts possible coronavirus impact on Georgian economy
Review of car re-exports statistics in Georgia
Review of Georgian banking sector external debt
NATO praises Georgia’s efforts against coronavirus
TAP to shape Italy’s gas market in several ways: WoodMac
Australia tightens social distancing rules to combat coronavirus
U.S. COVID-19 cases top 100,000 as deaths surpass 1,500
Number of COVID-19 cases increases in Georgia
Brunei reports first coronavirus death
Mexico registers 717 coronavirus cases, and 12 total deaths
Turkey to cancel all int'l flights over COVID-19 fears
Chile government negotiates bill-paying delay for poor as coronavirus bites
Oman announces 22 new cases of coronavirus, 131 in total
Four passengers die on cruise ship with coronavirus outbreak off Panama
Belgium extends lockdown period until April 18
COVID-19 death toll rises to 12 in Israel
Italy has yet to hit coronavirus peak, lockdown set to be extended
Azerbaijan tightens special quarantine regime
How EU gas markets prepared for coronavirus?
British PM Johnson has coronavirus, self-isolates in Downing Street
Azercell called on Azerbaijanis to show solidarity in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic
43 more test positive for coronavirus in Azerbaijan
Greenfields Petroleum announces agreement to defer payment of its senior secured debt
Azerbaijan’s president signs decree to exempt import of some medical supplies from VAT
Azerbaijan's Azeltech talks difficulties in buying composite materials for production
AZAL talks rules for flights on Baku-Nakhchivan-Baku routes for Azerbaijani citizens
Azerbaijan's logistic company talks reasons for decline in freight traffic volumes
Operation of express buses to airport limited in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan restricts entry/exit from regions
Volume of cargo transshipment through Turkish port of Cesme announced
Azerbaijan's parliament to discuss joining another international document
Azerbaijani MPs to sit no less than 2 meters apart at parliament's session
Current account deficit reaches its historical minimum in Georgia
Volume of cargo transshipment from Slovenia through Turkish ports disclosed
Volume of cargo transshipment from Tunisia through Turkish ports disclosed
Georgia increases imports of chemical products from Turkey
Georgian TBC Bank signs loan agreement with OPEC Fund
BOTAS International Limited reveals volume of oil transshipment from Ceyhan terminal
Volume of loans issued by commercial banks of Georgia decreases
S&P talks Kazakhstan's mitigation of current oil price shock effects
Volume of cargo transshipment from Iran through Turkish ports disclosed
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Lebanon through its ports
Volume of cargo transshipment from Libya through Turkish ports disclosed
Volume of cargo transshipment from Romania through Turkish ports disclosed
Azerbaijan reveals volume of cargo transportation by all modes of transport
Turkey reveals volume of cargo transshipment from Algeria through its ports
All ventures to suspend operation in two Kazakh cites to battle coronavirus
Movement of transit trucks ensured in Azerbaijan, says ministry (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijan's Emergency Ministry increases number of tents at border reception and sorting points (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Coronavirus cases detected in two more Kazakh regions for first time
Belavia extends flight suspension to Georgia
Azerbaijan launched additional six plants producing medical alcohol, says minister
Weekly review of Georgian capital markets
PM: Azerbaijani state to undertake all required measures to combat coronavirus
Azerbaijan increases building gypsum production
Another provocation of Armenian Armed Forces suppressed: Azerbaijan’s State Border Service
Total amount of donations to Azerbaijan’s Fund to Support Fight Against Coronavirus announced
Regular bus services may be suspended in Azerbaijan’s capital in case of non-compliance with quarantine
Medical Insurance Agency: Over 3,300 people quarantined in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan sees growth in car manufacturing
Kristall Plus CJSC begins medical alcohol production in Azerbaijan
Assistant to Azerbaijani president: 400 more Azerbaijani citizens to be brought back soon
EU4Energy implements new project for gas consumers in Georgia
Azerbaijan Housing Fund to attract repair services
Volume of food production up in Azerbaijan
Cabinet of Ministers: Over half million masks bought in Azerbaijan in three days
WB supports Georgia’s ongoing reforms in economic areas
Kyrgyzstan increases car imports from Turkey
Number of COVID-19 cases in Georgia reaches 81
Coronavirus to impact global wind capacity additions expected from 2020
Georgian customs switches to special regime due to coronavirus
Oil prices would take a few years to return to pre-virus levels
Iran to provide companies suffering from COVID-19 with low interest loan
BSTDB president: Azerbaijan’s policy in conditions of global crisis is adequate
Armenia violates ceasefire with Azerbaijan 22 times
All news