High street has its worst sales growth since May

SALES on the British high street dwindled to their lowest level of annual growth since May last month, despite retailers slashing prices to try and drum up a pre-Christmas rush.

Figures from the British Retail Consortium showed that like-for-like sales volumes were 1.6 per cent lower than a year ago in November, though total sales including new shops were up 0.7 per cent on last year.

Stephen Robertson, director general of British Retail Consortium, said: “There’s a worrying lack of cheer in these figures. The weakest increase in sales for six months suggests consumers are keeping a tight rein on their spending, despite Christmas being so near.

“This November’s mild weather contrasted with much lower temperatures last year, is hitting sales of winter clothing and footwear particularly hard.”

In the three months to the end of November, like-for-like food sales were up 1.5 per cent on a year ago, while non-food sales slumped 2.1 per cent.