Retailers suffer worst December on record according to the Daily Telegraph as the retail sales figures for December were released by the Office of National Statistics. “British retail sales suffered their worst December on record as retailers battled with Arctic weather conditions and shoppers shunned higher prices.”
Retail sales including fuel were at a standstill compared to December 2009, excluding fuel sales volumes increased by just 1%. Certain sectors did well, online sales were up by almost 15%, textiles, clothing and footwear were up by 3.4%.
Household goods were hammered, down by 8.6% and travel plans were curtailed by the weather as fuel volumes fell by over 10%. That’s the equivalent of three days stuck in the snow or at home with the kids. Not pleasant but a plausible economic scenario.
But food, what happened to food. Let them eat flake, or snowflakes presumably as food sales fell by 3.4% compared to December last year. That is the equivalent of one days destocking from the freezer as supplies came under pressure from families housebound.
Or could it be that families were fasting in the month, according to the official data, food volumes have been falling since the end of last year. Part of a slimming plan? or a more volumes are going on line? Is it a problem with food prices and the deflators, or is it the old problem of lies, damned lies and seasonal adjustments?
It is going to be a tough year ahead for retail, especially in household goods, retail sales were flat in December but the food figures should be taken with a pinch of salt.
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In no way should the comments be considered as investment advice or guidelines or reflect political bias. UK Economics news and analysis : no politics, no dogma, no polemics, just facts. JKA is a visiting professor at MMU Business School, an economist and specialist in Corporate Strategy, educated at LSE, London Business School with a PhD from Manchester Metropolitan University.