UK retail sales continued to grow in December after consumers left their shopping until the final week before Christmas.
The latest British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG Retail Sales Monitor found UK retail sales increased 1% on a like-for-like basis from December 2015, when they had increased 0.1% from the preceding year.
On a total basis, sales were up 1.7% against a 1% increase in December 2015. This was in line with the three-month average of 1.8%, but faster than the 12-month average of 1.2%.
Over the three-months to December, non-food retail sales in the UK rose 1.1% on a like-for-like basis and 1.3% on a total basis.
However, the jewellery and watch category fell in the ranking to the seventh best performing sector, after averaging first – out of 12 – for the past three months. This is compared with the same month last year when it was the fourth best performing category
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: “December is the most important trading period of the year and with sales across 2016 growing more slowly than the previous year, it was all to play for in the final month.
“Despite the slow start to the Christmas trading period, the week itself was a bumper one and exceeded expectations. It delivered the majority of sales growth for the month, proving even bigger than the Black Friday period – which is the reverse of what we saw the year before.
Meanwhile, online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 7.2% in December versus a year earlier, when they had increased by 15.1%. However, this was the first growth below 10% in four months.