Recession concerns are mounting in the UK as retailers reported the weakest sales growth in over a year during the first fortnight of December.
The CBI's December Distributive Trades Survey revealed 42% of firms saw sales volumes grow year-on-year in the first half of December, but 33% reported a drop. The positive 8% balance is the weakest since November 2006 and is the fourth month in a row sales growth has failed to meet expectations.
Conducted between 29 November and 12 December, the survey also shows the three-month moving average slowed slightly from a balance of positive 12% in October and November to positive 10%.
"We're coming to the end of what's been a successful year for many on the high street, CBI distributive trades panel chairman and Asda executive director John Longworth says.
“So, sales growth in the first part of December seems relatively more disappointing when compared with last year's pre-Christmas period and the first half of 2007.
“But the outlook for January does not fill them (retailers) with cheer as they expect a slight fall in sales.”
Longworth says firms will be hoping customers are planning to do last minute Christmas shopping.
"Maintaining consumer confidence is vital, at a time when the extent to which tighter borrowing and the impact of the credit crunch will bear down on people's pockets is still not fully known,” he says.
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