BRC: solid start to Christmas despite weaker sales growth

BRITISH retailers saw weaker growth in sales values last month after experiencing their best October since 2002, the latest survey from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) will show today.<br /><br />Retail sales rose 1.8 per cent on a like-for-like basis in November compared to the same period last year when sales volumes fell 2.6 per cent as consumer confidence suffered a knock. <br /><br />However, Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, said the weaker performance in November was largely down to the sharp fall in food inflation &ndash; food sales volumes grew by only 2.1 per cent.<br /><br />Once slower food sales growth is factored in, the 3.3 per cent like-for-like growth in the three months to November represents a solid start to Christmas trading, the BRC said. <br /><br />Clothing and footwear also slowed after October&rsquo;s uplift. Homewares and furniture sales showed further gains, but against larger declines a year ago.<br /><br />Robertson said: &ldquo;Uncertainty is making customers more cautious. Retailers are hopeful of a better Christmas than last year&rsquo;s dire performance, but it&rsquo;s still all to play for.&rdquo;