Retail sales increased by 0.6% on a like-for-like basis from December 2016, which was a decline compared to an increase of 1.0% from the preceding year.
Over the three months to December 2017, non-food sales saw a decline of 3.7% on a total basis and 4.4% on a like-for-like basis, the sharpest drop since December 2012 when BRC’s records began.
In the three months to December, food sales saw a growth of 2.6% on a like-for-like basis and 4.2% on a total basis. This was the highest increase since June 2012 and is above the 12 month total average growth of 3.4%.
E-commerce performed well, with non-food sales showing an increase of 7.6% in December.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of BRC, said: “With inflation outpacing income growth, shoppers continued to see more of their spending power absorbed by essential items, including food, leaving less left over for buying Christmas gifts.
“With spending likely to remain under severe pressure in the next few years, it’s imperative that in the forthcoming trade negotiations, the government does all it can to avoid adding new tariffs to existing price pressures.”