BRC: UK Christmas trading was respectable

<p>The UK’s Christmas sales data was respectable, the BRC has said.</p>

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has described the UK's sales data for the Christmas period as respectable.

Retailers such as John Lewis, Next, Marks and Spencer and Debenhams have released results in the last few days, along with supermarkets including Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury's.

A new report from the BRC has revealed retail sales were up 0.4 per cent on a like-for-like basis from December 2012, when they were 0.3 per cent up on the preceding year.

On an overall basis, BRC figures show that sales were up 1.8 per cent, which the body noted was against a 1.5 per cent increase in December 2012, recording the lowest growth of 2013.

Director-general of the BRC Helen Dickinson stated that the results are in line with what analysts at the organisation had predicted ahead of the festive period. She said: "The last-minute rush also arrived as expected, giving a major boost to sales in the final few days before Christmas after a fairly flat showing mid-month.

Multichannel

Retailers such as John Lewis saw startling increases in their online sales over the 2013 festive period and Ms Dickinson noted how multichannel is becoming increasingly important for firms in all types of sectors in the UK.

She said: "This Christmas we've seen innovative retailers using click and collect and other approaches to make a virtue of both their website and their physical shops. And that's something we see growing in importance. Fast deliveries and social media offers have also helped us to plan ahead and cover off our Christmas lists efficiently."

Morrisons was among the companies to have a poor Christmas in comparison to some of its rivals in the supermarket sector and analysts believe this is partly due to the fact it did not offer online sales until recently.

The company revealed that sales slipped 5.6 per cent over the festive period, which the firm's chief executive Dalton Philips confirmed was a "disappointing" result for Morrisons.

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