BIRA comments on ‘disappointing’ December retail sales figures

The British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) has commented on the disappointing retail sales figures for December.

The association, which works with over 6,000 independent businesses of all sizes across the UK, has said they are ‘disappointed’ with the figures for the festive period which has been released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The report has shown:

  • Retail sales volumes are estimated to have fallen by 1.0% in December 2022, following a fall of 0.5% in November (revised from a fall of 0.4%).
  • Sales volumes were 1.7% below their pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) February levels.
  • Non-food store’s sales volumes fell by 2.1% over the month, with continued feedback from retailers and other wider evidence that consumers are cutting back on spending because of increased prices and affordability concerns.
  • Food store sales volumes fell by 0.3% in December 2022 from a rise of 1.0% in November, with comments from some retailers suggesting that customers stocked up early for Christmas.
  • The proportion of online sales fell to 25.4% in December 2022 from 25.9% in November, with anecdotal evidence that Royal Mail strikes led to consumers shopping in stores more.
  • Between 2021 and 2022, retail sales volumes fell by 3.0%, as the lifting of restrictions on hospitality led to a return to eating out, and rising prices and the cost of living affected sales volumes.

BIRA CEO, Andrew Goodacre, said: “We now have confirmation that December and the festive period was disappointing for retailers.

“There seems to be widespread acceptance that inflation will fall this year with the costs of energy falling and so the government must use the Spring statement in March to announce ways of boosting the economy.

“Levelling-up projects were announced yesterday but they are long-term projects. Independent retailers need something this year if the high streets are to thrive again.”

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