The growth of retail sales continued to slow down in December as e-commerce sales jumped compared with the same month last year.
That’s according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, which found like-for-like retail sales in the UK rose by just 0.1% in December compared with the same month last year – when they had decreased 0.4% on the preceding year.
On a total basis, sales were up 1% compared with a 1% rise in December 2014, while total growth was above the three-month average of 0.9% but weaker than the 12-month average of 1.7%.
On a three-month basis, total non-food sales – which includes jewellery – were up 1.5%, the categories weakest growth since January 2013.
Meanwhile, online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 15.1% in December versus a year earlier, when they had grown 7%. The non-food online penetration rate was 19.7%, up 2.4 percentage points from December 2014.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: “2015 drew to a disappointing close for retailers, with December seeing just 1% sales growth, notwithstanding the strong underlying momentum of an improving consumer environment buoyed by rising real incomes, low inflation and low unemployment.
“Online performed strongly as consumers embraced the convenience and flexibility that more sophisticated retailers offered. Nevertheless, the boost from online was not enough to make this a Christmas to remember for most retailers.”