A surge in online sales helped to stabilise UK retailers in the festive period even as uncertain economic outlook weighed on consumer spending during the vital festive period, according to closely-watched data.
Like-for-like sales were up 0.3 per cent for retailers in December, according to the British Retail Consortium and KPMG sales monitor, suggesting that a chill had been avoided by the High Street.
According to Helen Dickinson, director-general of the BRC, though the results were not a cause for celebration, they were not a disaster either.
Total retail sales increased 1.5 per cent driven by online growth of 17.8 per cent. She added, retail sales would have fallen without the sharp increase in online sales.
She added that December had become huge for online and the most important part of the year. She added that people made use of the convenience of it, particularly buying presents for people who lived in other parts of the country.
Online sales were up at the fastest pace for 12 months in December with the proportion of retail sales coming from the internet rising from 10 per cent to nearer 15 per cent during the month.