Retail sales will grow 3% in December as financial pressures on consumers ease, new research suggests.

‘Positive factors’ point to a happy Christmas

Retail sales will grow 3% in December as financial pressures on consumers ease, new research suggests.

'Positive factors' point to a happy Christmas

Issuing its predictions for the 2012 festive trading period, Mintel says the run-up to this Christmas is starting better than last year, and most factors are more positive.

Consumer confidence is beginning to edge up, according to Mintel, thanks in part to the feel-good factors that came with the Olympics. It points out that unemployment has been falling, and that the squeeze on incomes is much less than it was.

“Retail sales growth has averaged around 3% so far this year and as the pressures on consumers are, if anything, easing there is no reason to suppose that that rate cannot be maintained, comments Mintel’s director of retail research Richard Perks. “So 3% should be the median forecast.”

And 2013 should see more of the same, he believes.

He says: “The threat of a major Eurozone break-up is receding. We won’t get much help from the area, but at least it’s unlikely to drag us back into a deep recession. And the income squeeze should ease further.

“It seems right to expect further, though modest, recovery. But there needs to be a warning for the retail sector,” he adds.

“It seems to us that leisure spending has been cut much harder than retail spending and Mintel’s tracker research strongly indicates that consumers most want to spend more on leisure. So any economic upturn will benefit retail proportionately less. Nor can there be much help from the depressed household goods sectors until there is some recovery in housing turnover.”

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