British retail sales dropped unexpectedly in December, as consumers dealt with rising inflation during the crucial Christmas shopping period.
The volume of retail sales in Great Britain fell by 1 per cent between November and December, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics on Friday.
The reading was well below the 0.5 per cent rise forecast in a Reuters poll of economists.
Retail sales fell despite the government’s cost of living payments, delivered in mid to late November, which were expected to have “given an extra boost to spending in the lead-up to Christmas”, according to Paul Dales, chief UK economist at Capital Economics. .
The figure is the second successful monthly decline in retail sales volumes, following a 0.5 per cent drop in November, when Black Friday failed to produce a significant bump in sales.
Separate data by the research company GfK showed that UK consumer confidence it remained below minus 40 for the ninth month in a row in January, marking the longest period of pessimism in nearly 50 years.
The data comes as consumer inflation eased slightly to 10.5 per cent last month, down from a 41-year high of 11.1 per cent in October.