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Christmas retail sales will bounce back, says report

BRITISH retail sales will rise 1.9 per cent over Christmas, bouncing back from last year&rsquo;s decline, but below the increases of the previous nine years, according to research published yesterday.<br /><br />The Centre for Retail Research forecast retail sales would rise &pound;832m to &pound;44.7bn in the last six weeks of 2009.<br /><br />That compares with a &pound;27m decline in the same period of 2008 and the average rise of &pound;1.1bn over the preceding nine years.<br /><br />The research, commissioned by shopping comparison website Kelkoo, predicted the rise in sales could result in up to 4,500 new jobs by January.<br /><br />Much of the growth would be driven by online retail sales, which are forecast to rise 24 per cent to &pound;8.9bn, accounting for 20p in every pound of spending.<br /><br />Retail sales have held up better than many analysts had feared in the recession.