The latest edition of the British Retail Consortium-KPMG retail survey reveals sales in November were down by 0.4 per cent when compared to a year earlier, according to the BBC.
This follows a 0.1 per cent decline in October, marking the first two consecutive months to see sales fall since the survey first began in January 2005. Retailers were warned they are now facing “a nerve-wracking Christmas”.
The BRC found that sales in November were down by 2.6 per cent when viewed on a like-for-like basis, removing the effect of store openings and closures. On this basis, this was the sixth consecutive month in which sales declined.
According to the Consortium, food and drink was the only sector that saw sales rise in November, attributed to ongoing discounting by supermarkets. The BRC also hoped the cut in VAT from 17.5 per cent to 15 per cent would help boost sales.
KPMG’s head of retail Helen Dickinson said: “There is little doubt that Christmas will arrive late for many retailers, leaving them with a very nerve-wracking couple of weeks to come.”
The BRC’s director-general Stephen Robertson stated: “The numbers speak for themselves – these are clearly tough times.” He added that he hoped shoppers would be encouraged to spend more by the “extraordinary” number of discounts and promotions.