U.K. Retailers See Black Friday Hangover as Sales Plunge 1.5%
Friday, 19 January 2018 16:47 WIB | ECONOMY |Ekonomi inggrisUK Retail Sales

U.K. retail sales fell the most in 18 months in December as retailers experienced their customary post-Black Friday lull. 

The volume of goods sold in stores and online fell 1.5 percent from November, when heavy discounting saw sales jump 1 percent, the Office for National Statistics said Friday. It was the biggest drop since June 2016 and the most for a December in seven years. Sales excluding auto fuel declined 1.6 percent.

Sales of household goods plunged 5.3 percent and clothing sales fell 1 percent. Only department stores saw an improvement, with sales rising 0.6 percent. 

Black Friday has disrupted the Christmas shopping season since the American bargain frenzy was introduced in the U.K. in 2010. Purchases previously made in December are being brought forward, and retailers complain the pressure to keep prices low is damaging margins at the most crucial time of the year. 

At the same time stores are facing a challenging economic backdrop, with the squeeze on living standards from inflation and higher interest rates meaning consumer confidence remains fragile. 

A number of retailers have sounded cautious about the year ahead, including Marks & Spencer Group Plc, which reported a drop in sales over the Christmas period.

In the fourth quarter sales rose 0.4 percent, half the pace seen in the previous three months. It means retail sales made almost no contribution to gross domestic product in the period.

Quarterly sales from a year earlier held at growth of just 1 percent, the worst readings since May 2013.

Source : Bloomberg

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